Elaborate the origin of monsoon with reference to thermal and recent concepts.


Elaborate the origin of monsoon with reference to thermal and recent concepts. ( UPPSC 2020)


Monsoon is a seasonal wind of winds and the term monsoon was first used by the Arabic geographer Al Masoodi which is derived from the Arab word "weather".

The origin of monsoon winds is mainly due to the movement of the sun towards the north and south. There are many theories that explain the origin of the monsoon and none of the theories is able to fully explain the phenomenon of monsoon.

Thermal Concept of Origin of Monsoon:

  • In 1686, Sir Edmund Halley tried to explain the origin of the monsoon on the basis of conventional knowledge of atmospheric circulation. According to Hailey:
  • Monsoon is nothing but the expansion of sea-breeze and land-breeze on a large scale due to uneven heating and cooling of land and sea.
  • In summer, the Tropic of Cancer receives light perpendicularly to the Sun, which causes the Indian subcontinent to become hotter, and a low atmospheric condition develops over land, and a high atmospheric condition develops over the ocean, which results in air movement from sea to land. It seems
  • In winter, the Sun is upwards at the Tropic of Capricorn, as a result, low atmospheric pressure develops over the ocean and high atmospheric conditions develop over the land, allowing wind to flow from land to sea.

Recent Concepts on Origin of Monsoon:

The thermal concept of the monsoon is criticized by many modern climatologists as not being able to explain both the dynamic nature of the monsoon and the intensity and duration of uneven rainfall. The recent concept of the origin of monsoon has tried to include several things in order to fully understand the origin and mechanism of monsoon.

Atmospheric factor

  • Role of ITCZ
  • the subtropical western jet stream
  • the tropical eastern jet stream
  • The high-pressure area east of Madagascar

Oceanic factor

  • El Nino
  • Na-Nina
  • Oceanic Nino Index (ONI)
  • Southern Oscillation (SO)
  • SOI - Southern Oscillation Index
  • ENSO – El Nio Southern Oscillation
  • Indian Ocean Dipole-IOD

Relief and mountains

  • Role of the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau
  • Arakan mountain

The combination of all the above factors attempted to explain the origin of the monsoon.

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