Monsoons: Wet, Dry, Repeat... Abridged Version

  • Released Monday, May 16, 2016
  • Updated Monday, June 17, 2019 at 6:26PM
  • ID: 12252

The monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that occurs over South Asia (among other places). Through NASA satellites and models we can see the monsoon patterns like never before. Monsoon rains provide important reservoirs of water that sustain human activities like agriculture and supports the natural environment through replenishment of aquifers. However, too much rainfall routinely causes disasters in the region, including flooding of the major rivers and landslides in areas of steep topography.

This visualization uses a combination of NASA satellite data and models to show how and why the monsoon develops over this region. In the summer the land gets hotter, heating the atmosphere and pulling in cooler, moisture-laden air from the oceans. This causes pulses in heavy rainfall throughout the region. In the winter the land cools off and winds move towards the warmer ocean and suppressing rainfall on land.

This is an abridged version of a longer narrated visualization.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


This visualization is related to the following missions:


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

Global Flood Monitoring System (GFMS)
CPC (Climate Prediction Center) Cloud Composite
Data CompilationClimate Prediction Center (CPC)2014-2015

Global cloud cover from multiple satellites

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Soil Moisture (Collected with the GEMS sensor)

GEMS stands for Goddard Earth Modeling System. It is also known as the NSIPP Global Climate Model.

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Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

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