The Onset of the Monsoon and Withdrawal
The onset of the Indian Monsoon and Withdrawal is defined in terms of zonal asymmetric temperature anomaly and withdrawal is defined in terms of vertical wind shear. The Monsoon, unlike the trades, are not steady winds but are pulsating in nature, affected by different atmospheric conditions encountered by it, on its way over the warm tropical seas. The duration of the monsoon is between 100- 120 days from early June to mid-September. Around the time of its arrival, the normal rainfall increases suddenly and continues constantly for several days. This is known as the ‘burst’ of the monsoon, and can be distinguished from the pre-monsoon showers. The monsoon arrives at the southern tip of the Indian peninsula generally by the first week of June. Subsequently, it divides into two – the Arabian Sea branch and the Bay of Bengal branch.
The Arabian Sea branch reaches Mumbai about ten days later on approximately the 10th of June. This is a fairly rapid advance. The Bay of Bengal branch also advances rapidly and arrives in Assam in the first week of June. The lofty mountains cause the monsoon winds to deflect towards the west over the Ganga plains. By mid-June the Arabian Sea branch of the monsoon arrives over Saurashtra-Kuchchh and the central part of the country. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal branches of the monsoon merge over the north-western part of the Ganga plains. Delhi generally receives the monsoon showers from the Bay of Bengal branch by the end of June (tentative date is 29th of June).
By the first week of July, western Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and eastern Rajasthan experience the monsoon. By mid-July, the monsoon reaches Himachal Pradesh and the rest of the country. Withdrawal or the retreat of the monsoon is a more gradual process. The withdrawal of the monsoon begins in north-western states of India by early September.
By mid-October, it withdraws completely from the northern half of the peninsula. The withdrawal from the southern half of the peninsula is fairly rapid.
By early December, the monsoon has withdrawn from the rest of the country. The islands receive the very first monsoon showers, progressively from south to north, from the first week of April to the first week of May. The withdrawal, takes place progressively from north to south from the first week of December to the first week of January. By this time the rest of the country is already under the influence of the winter monsoon.