Jun 24, 2014

The case of the missing monsoons

When I first moved to Florida from up north ...

Somebody warned me to watch out for the monsoons.

The above rain chart provides a comparison of monthly rainfall totals for Tucson, Arizona, Dehradun, India and Naples, Florida.  In Tucson, the summer storms are dubbed monsoons despite it only getting about 12 inches of rain per year.  Meanwhile, in Naples Florida a single month often exceeds Tucson's annual rain total yet the summer rains are rather drably named wet season instead.

Fifteen years later, I'm still not sure if they meant the giant afternoon thunderstorms or were erroneously referring to hurricanes instead.  Not once on the local weather channel have I ever heard the meteorologist call any storm or season in Florida a monsoon.

Nor can I find the term monsoons in any of my Florida weather books.

Could it be that they simply do not exist?


ConcordRiver-Bill said...

Hydrologic events vary tremendously in severity, timing, and duration, yet there are few descriptive terms that have broad public use (e.g., monsoons, hurricanes, thunderstorms). Hopefully this will change as climate and hydrologic events are factoring more prominently in economics and political science.

If we are able to quickly sort through 100 types of breakfast cereals, salad dressings, and sugary drinks at the supermarket, we should be able to greatly expand our descriptive options in describing and discussing weather and hydrologic events.

We need more websites like "Go Hydrology" that focus on regional hydrology data accrual, analysis, and public education. As usual, this is an interesting and valuable comparison of regional and global hydrology patterns.

Robert Sobczak said...

Thank you ConcordRiver-Bill! I am struck by how well your cereal analogy holds up:

For example I mixed oat bran with honey nut cherios on the same day that a low level afternoon seas breeze fed storms mixed with instability from an upper level trough off the Bahamas. The result was an amply wetted swamp and an equally soaked me under cover of an umbrella on my evening walk through town.

Our weather at any one spot is an amalgam of multiple meteorologic forces from near and far.