World Cultures Portfolio/South Asia
Won't show up! [[Image:South Asia Rainfall Map.JPG|thumb|300px|South Asia Rainfall Map]]
Rainfall in South Asia varies greatly and has many effects on aspects of South Asian life. Not only does the rainfall map match closely with the climate map, but with the population map. Monsoons have a great deal of effects on the population, morale, and agriculture. India, a large nation, made up of many sections gets affected by many different climates. Dry as a desert, the western side lies, but rain ravages the eastern side. India's rain falls seasonally and unpredictability. But when it differs from it's norm, problems such as floods and droughts emerge.
Various regions and countries make up South Asia. In the north-east lies Afghanistan and Pakistan. Both are very dry, similar to the rest of the Middle East. The Thar Desert exists here, a large dry region in Rajasthan (an Indian state) and Pakistan (Wikipedia). The desert covers 92,200 square miles and receives less then 40 inches of rain per year (WWF via Wikipedia; Ahmad et al). Few people wish to live in this region and thus it's sparsely populated, similar to deserts around the world.
The north-west portion of South Asia contains Nepal, and Bangladesh, among others. The northern part of this region, the part bordering the plains of China, does not receive as much rain, and gets designated "temperate humid" on the Encarta climate map. The region then gets divided into further smaller sub-regions. The largest sub-region climate appears as "winter drought, hot summer." Small different sub-variations with different drought seasons and summer temperatures border this.
As one moves south-west towards Southwest Asia, one moves into the tropics. This region gets wetter and receives significantly more rain. Larger populations also crowd this wetter region. For the most part this region borders Southeast Asia and receives about 200-400 inches per year with some spots receiving up to 400 inches per year (Ahmad et al).
The western ghats also receive a lot of rain (Ahmad et al). This occurs because of the normal rain-trapping properties of the mountains, which can be seen all over the globe.
In the middle of Sri Lanka, Mount Pidurutalagala receives an excess of 400 inches of rain per year (Ahmad et al). On the map a small spot of dark green shows the mountain's peak (Ahmad et al). Again the mountains are what cause this small spot of heavy rain.
The rain levels in India vary along with the season. In January, India receives almost no rain except in the southern and north-eastern corners of the country (Encarta Map). However, the story in July differs greatly (Encarta Map). Rain falls heavily during the summer, especially in the north-eastern corner of South Asia. However, there's one fluke. A dry patch exists just west of the northern tip of Sri Lanka (Encarta Map). Unfortunately no explanation could arise to why this abnormality occurs.
When one thinks of monsoons, one usually only thinks about the heavy rains which occur in India during the summer. However, a monsoon, properly defined, represents a wind pattern which reverses direction with the seasons and can occur in other regions (Wikipedia). However, back to the common definition, the monsoons rains provide almost all of India's water for the entire year. This makes India very reliant on the rains which occur from July to September each year (Baldauf).
Agriculture powers 70% of India's economy (Baldauf). So when the rains come late, everyone suffers. This causes starvation among the poor villages and hardship in the cities. The rain also partially abates the heat, so when it's missing, everyone feels it (Baldauf). This heat causes a massive demand for air-conditioning, one which the power company can not keep up with (Baldauf). So once again, the lack of rains affect the Indian people.
But as a lack of water brings hardship, so does flooding. Floods, such as the ones near Nepal in 2004 left thousands homeless (Baldauf). Just as flood waters do in the United States, flooding wipes out houses in India, gutting everything in their paths.
So, India need a balance of rain each year. Not too much, but at the same time, not too little. But when this balance gets upset, Indians suffer. Floods, drought, famine, and power outages can all result from India's haphazard rainfall. However, the rains also affect the climate and population distribution in South Asia. Different sections of Asia receive different amounts of rain. These factors all affect the daily life of many Indians, just as they do worldwide.
- Ahmad, Ifikhar, Herbert Brodsky, Marylee Susan Crofts, and Elisabeth Gaynor Ellis. World Cultures: A Global Mosaic. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2001.
- Baldauf, Scott. "India's monsoon: a time of washouts and waiting." The Christian Science Monitor. 20 July 2004. 2 Jan 2007 <http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0720/p07s01-wosc.html>.
- Global Insights: People and Cultures. Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1993.
- "South Asia Annual Precipitation Map." Encarta. Microsoft. 17 Dec 2006 <http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/MapCenter/MapPrintPreview.aspx?lat=18.3870980570115&long=78.9589470696392&alt=2&mapsize=Medium&mapstyle=precipitationannual&mapstyleselectedindex=9&selectedent=47614&entityname=South%20Asia%20(region),%20Asia>.
- "South Asia Climate Map." Encarta. Microsoft. 17 Dec 2006 <http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/MapCenter/MapPrintPreview.aspx?lat=18.3870980570115&long=78.9589470696392&alt=2&mapsize=Medium&mapstyle=climate&mapstyleselectedindex=8&selectedent=47614&entityname=South%20Asia%20(region),%20Asia>.
- "South Asia January Precipitation Map." Encarta. Microsoft. 20 Dec 2006 <http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/MapCenter/MapPrintPreview.aspx?lat=18.3870980570115&long=78.9589470696392&alt=2&mapsize=Medium&mapstyle=precipitationjanuary&mapstyleselectedindex=10&selectedent=47614&entityname=>.
- "South Asia July Precipitation Map." Encarta. Microsoft. 20 Dec 2006 <http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/mapcenter/map.aspx?TextLatitude=39.45&TextLongitude=-98.907&TextAltitude=0&TextSelectedEntity=39070&SearchEnc=false&MapStyle=Comprehensive&MapSize=Medium&MapStyleSelectedIndex=0&searchTextMap=South+Asia&MapStylesList=Comprehensive&ZoomOnMapClickCheck=on>.
- "South Asia Population Map." Encarta. Microsoft. 17 Dec 2006 <http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/MapCenter/MapPrintPreview.aspx?lat=18.3870980570115&long=78.9589470696392&alt=2&mapsize=Medium&mapstyle=population&mapstyleselectedindex=6&selectedent=47614&entityname=South%20Asia%20(region),%20Asia>.
- "Thar Desert." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 15 Dec 2006, 10:24 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 17 Dec 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thar_Desert&oldid=94484869>.