The monsoons and the Moon were the buzzwords at the Centre for Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Physics, University of Hyderabad (UoH). In a series of special lectures, the centre invited Dr. Satish R Shyete, to deliver his internationally acclaimed lecture titled “Physics of Monsoons Over India and Surrounding Seas: A Primer” on 22 August, 2019.  His lecture was followed by a special lecture delivered by Dr Maqbool Ahmed, Principal Scientific Officer, UoH on the topic, India to land on the moon.

The speaker draws attention to the patterns of monsoon in the subcontinent and stressed upon the physics of the process. A lecture replete with technical details of Indian monsoons, the speaker appeals to the audience that isn’t in touch with science too. Dr. Satish R Shyete begins by explaining the origins of Indian monsoons. He introduces the tropical rain-bearing belt that changes its latitudinal position in accordance with the Sun. The belt occurs around the doldrums of the Earth and throughout its journey, the belt covers the tropical zones of the planet. This very belt finds its position around the Indian subcontinent, engulfs the seas surrounding it during the winters. As summer sets, the belt travels upwards onto the land mass of the country. Although the nature of this belt is to migrate periodically, it’s journey from the winter to summer upwards is longer than the other places. Through this transition, the belt undergoes local-rain adjustments. These adjustments too, are specific to the geography of the region.

Physicists around the world have been able to track down few reasons for this modifications. If not completely, at least partly, the geographic conditions of the northern Indian Ocean interferes with the belt to cause the alterations.

Why such interference? The former Vice-chancellor of University of Goa further explains that the oceanography of the lands that exist around the ocean tend to create pressure zones which influence the belt and impact it’s bounty of rain on the subcontinent.

Such a trifactor phenomenon makes the Indian subcontinent, a unique space for the physics of rain to witness. The three elements, atmosphere, ocean and land topography have a major impact on the monsoons, thus rendering the region a case to study.

Moving ahead, the speaker throws light on the distribution of rainfall as the belt moves upward onto the country. To relate the lecture to the contemporary times, Dr. Shyete adds reference of the erratic rainfalls throughout the country, floods some places and droughts at others.

Contributed by Ujjvala Kaumudi, Department of Communication, UoH.