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Factors Determining the Climate of India

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  • Last Updated : 29 Jun, 2022
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Climate is the sum total of meteorological conditions and fluctuations across a vast area over a longer period of time, usually more than thirty years. It describes the average circumstances that may be expected in a certain location at a given time. The climate system, which consists of five components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, land surface, and biosphere, determines the climate of an area. 

Over a long period of time, climate may include precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunlight, wind velocity, and phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms. Climate is defined as statistical meteorological data that depicts the variance of weather at a given location over a certain time period. 

Weather is defined as the condition of the atmosphere over a certain location at any given moment. Sunshine, rain, cloud cover, winds, hail, snow, sleet, freezing rain, flooding, blizzards, ice storms, thunderstorms, persistent showers from a cold front or warm front, severe heat, heat waves, and other weather conditions are all possible. 

By gathering meteorological information such as air temperature, pressure, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed and direction, and so on. Atmospheric pressure, temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, precipitation, cloud cover, and other factors are measured in real time. Weather is the condition of the atmosphere on a given day, as well as it’s short-term (minutes to weeks) fluctuation. 

The distinction between weather and climate is a temporal measurement. The atmospheric conditions of a certain location for a short period of time, generally 24 hours, are referred to as weather. The average atmospheric conditions over relatively long periods of time, typically 30 years, are referred to as climate. In other words, when one speaks of climate, they are referring to long-term patterns, and when one speaks of weather, they are referring to short-term circumstances. 

The year is divided into seasons on the basis of monthly atmospheric conditions such as the Winter season, Summer season and Rainy season. There are a different number of climatic regions, and the climatic region of India is described as monsoon type. This type of climate has also been found in South Asia and South-Eastern countries. The Monsoon word is derived from an Arabic word is “mausim” which also means season. It refers to the seasonal variations in wind direction during a year.

Factors Determining Climate of India

Many diverse causes influence the climate across the world, resulting in climatic differences in different places of the globe. The climate of India is influenced by the following factors:

Temperature: Temperature plays and very important part in the climatic condition of India. In the same season, there are so many variations in the temperature of different parts of the country. For Example-

  • The temperature variation between Rajasthan and Jammu Kashmir in the same season. In summer there is a temperature of 50° C In the Rajasthan deserts but on the same day, there is a 20 °C temperature in Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • In winter Night, The temperature at Drass in Jammu and Kashmir is very low as compared to Thiruvananthapuram.
  • In some parts of India, there is also a wide difference between night and day temperature in Thar Desert temperature in day rise up to 50 °C and in same night it falls to 15 °C.
  • Like Andaman and Nicobar island or Kerala are the regions where there is not much variation in the temperature of day and night.

Precipitation: There is a wide variation in the form, types, amount and seasonal distribution of precipitation. For Example-

  • When it rains all over the rest of the country, the Himalayas receive precipitation on the upper side in form of snowfall.
  • The precipitation varies from over 400 cm in Meghalaya to less than 10 cm in Ladakh and western Rajasthan annually.
  • Same in the case of Rainfall, most parts of the country receive rainfall in the months of June to September but the Tamil Nadu coasts get most of their rain during October and November.
  • In general, we can say Temperature conditions varies less in coastal areas, seasonal variation is more in the interior of the country.
  • In northern plains there is a decrease in the rainfall from east to west and these variations leads has given rise to variety in the lives of people whether its in terms of the food, the clothes they wear and also the kind of houses they live in.

Latitude: India’s climate has characteristics of both tropical as well as subtropical climates because The tropic of cancer has divided the country into two halves and passes through the middle of the country from the Rann of Kuchchh in the west To Mizoram in the east.

Almost half of the area that lies south of the tropic of cancer belongs to the tropical area and the rest of the area or north side lies in the subtropics.

Altitude: In India, there are mountains with an average height of 6000 metres and coastal areas where the maximum elevation is about 30 metres.

because of the Himalayas, the Indian Subcontinent experiences comparatively mild winters as compared to Central Asia, as it prevents the cold winds from entering the subcontinent.

Pressure and Winds:

  • Pressure and surface wind – The associated weather and climate conditions in India are governed by the following atmospheric conditions:
    • Northeasterly surface winds are found in the region where India lies. These winds which are originated from the subtropical high-pressure belt of the Northern Hemisphere.
    • Due to Coriolis force, these winds get deflected to the right from blowing to the south and move on towards the equatorial low-pressure area. These northeasterly surface winds carry less rain or no rain as they originate and blow over land.
    • In India At the time of Winter, north of the Himalayas are the high-pressure area because this causes cold dry winds to blow from this area towards low-pressure areas over the southern oceans.
    •  It shows a complete reversal of the wind’s direction in summer because its scenario is different, In summer time as the low-pressure area develops over Interior Asia as well as over northwestern India.
    • In a southeasterly direction, Air moves from the high-pressure area over the southern Indian ocean then it crosses the equator and turns towards the lower pressure areas over the Indian subcontinent and known as Southwest Monsoon Winds. These winds gather a large amount of moisture and bring widespread rainfall over the mainland of India and blow over the warm ocean.
  • Upper-Air Circulation – The Indian subcontinent’s upper air circulation is dominated by a westerly flow. and the main component of this flow is Jet stream. These jet streams are located over 27 – 30 north latitudes because of this they are known as subtropical westerly jet streams. Except in summer, they blow south of the Himalayas throughout the year.
  • Western Cyclonic Disturbances and Tropical Cyclones – The weather phenomenon of the Winter months are the western cyclonic disturbances that are brought in by the westerly flows from the Mediterranean region and disturbances ha been experienced in the north and northwestern part of the country.

During the monsoon as well as in October – November, Tropical cyclones occur and these are the parts of the easterly flow. coastal regions of the country are highly affected by these disturbances. These subtropical westerly jet streams move north of the Himalayas due to the apparent shifting of the sun in summer. An easterly jet stream that blows over peninsular India approx over 14 N during the summer months has been called as Subtropical easterly jet stream.

Sample Questions 

Question 1: Define precipitation and latitude?


Precipitation: It is a deposit of rain, hail, mist, sleet or snow on the Earth.

Latitude: In North – South direction the angular distance of a location from the equator is termed as latitude.

Question 2: What is the leeward side?


The side of a mountain which receives less rainfall as windward side already received much of its part is defined as The leeward side .

Question 3: Explain Coriolis Force?


Coriolis force is a forced caused by Earths rotation. This force is responsible for deflecting winds towards the right in the Northern hemisphere and towards the left in southern hemisphere. This is also known by the name Ferrel’s Law.

Question 4: What are Jet streams?


Jet sprays are the narrow belt of high altitude westerly winds above 12000 m in the troposphere and their speed varies from about 110 km/h in summer to 184 km/hr in winter. Separate jets have been identified and the most constant are the mid – latitude and the sub tropical jet stream.

Question 5: What are western disturbances and how do they affect the climate?


Weather phenomenon of the Winter months are the western disturbances that are brought in by the westerly flows from the Mediterranean region and disturbances has been experienced in the north and north western part of the country. They affect the climate by causing cyclonic rainfall in months of winter. It also affect the weather of the North and North – western India.

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