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

Narration: George Huffman, Gail Skofronick-Jackson


Huffman: The monsoon is a seasonal rain and wind pattern that was first described over south Asia. You see the clouds blossoming here during the summer part of the monsoon. For centuries people have known about it, but only recently have we received enough data from satellites to really describe what's going on.

Skofronick-Jackson: What you can see here is moist air that has evaporated from the ocean, coming across India and providing rainfall, driving the monsoon season.

Huffman: One really cool way to look at the monsoon is to do a split-screen and look at the summer and the winter at the same time. In the summer the wind is blowing onshore, bringing the moist rain-laden air into the continent. In the winter time, it blows off the continent.

Skofronick-Jackson: Now those winds are basically driven by temperature differences between the ocean and the land. And where the land is nice and warm, the air expands and it draws in the moist air from the ocean waters, but in the winter time it's very cold. The moisture then it goes from the continent back into the oceans. Having a better understanding of the global water cycle and monitoring changes over time is important for society, for our everyday lives and our long-term future.