Wet season

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Rainfall distribution by month in Cairns, Australia. Cairns climate.svg
Rainfall distribution by month in Cairns, Australia.

The wet season (sometimes called the rainy season) is the time of year when most of a region's average annual rainfall occurs. Generally the season lasts at least a month. [1] The term 'green season' is also sometimes used as a euphemism by tourist authorities. [2] Areas with wet seasons are dispersed across portions of the tropics and subtropics. [3]


Under the Köppen climate classification, for tropical climates, a wet season month is defined as a month where average precipitation is 60 millimetres (2.4 in) or more. [4] In contrast to areas with savanna climates and monsoon regimes, Mediterranean climates have wet winters and dry summers. Dry and rainy months are characteristic of tropical seasonal forests: in contrast to tropical rainforests, which do not have dry or wet seasons, since their rainfall is equally distributed throughout the year. [5] Some areas with pronounced rainy seasons will see a break in rainfall mid-season, when the intertropical convergence zone or monsoon trough moves to higher latitudes in the middle of the warm season. [6]

When the wet season occurs during a warm season, or summer, precipitation falls mainly during the late afternoon and early evening. In the wet season, air quality improves, fresh water quality improves, and vegetation grows substantially, leading to crop yields late in the season. Rivers overflow their banks, and some animals retreat to higher ground. Soil nutrients diminish and erosion increases. The incidence of malaria and dengue increases in areas where the rainy season coincides with high temperatures, particularly in tropical areas. [7] Some animals have adaptation and survival strategies for the wet season. Often, the previous dry season leads to food shortages in the wet season, as the crops have yet to mature.

Character of the rainfall

Wet season storm at night in Darwin, Australia. Darwin 1824.jpg
Wet season storm at night in Darwin, Australia.

In areas where the heavy rainfall is associated with a wind shift, the wet season is known as the monsoon. Many tropical and subtropical climates experience monsoon rainfall patterns. [8] Rainfall in the wet season is mainly due to daytime heating which leads to diurnal thunderstorm activity within a pre-existing moist airmass, so the rain mainly falls in late afternoon and early evening in savannah and monsoon regions. Further, much of the total rainfall each day occurs in the first minutes of the downpour, [6] before the storms mature into their stratiform stage. [9] Most places have only one wet season, but areas of the tropics can have two wet seasons, because the monsoon trough, or Intertropical Convergence Zone, can pass over locations in the tropics twice per year. However, since rain forests have rainfall spread evenly through the year, they do not have a wet season. [5]

Areas affected

Areas with a savanna climate in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as Ghana, Burkina Faso, [10] [11] Darfur, [12] Eritrea, [13] Ethiopia, [14] and Botswana have a distinct rainy season. [15] Also subtropical areas like Florida, South and Southeast Texas, and southern Louisiana have a rainy season. [16] Monsoon regions include the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia (including Indonesia and Philippines), [17] northern sections of Australia's North, [18] Polynesia, [19] Central America, [20] western and southern Mexico, [21] the Desert Southwest of the United States, [22] southern Guyana, [23] portions of northeast Brazil. [24]

Northern Guyana has two wet seasons: one in early spring and the other in early winter. [23] In western Africa, there are two rainy seasons across southern sections, but only one across the north. [25] Within the Mediterranean climate regime, the west coast of the United States and the Mediterranean coastline of Italy, Greece, [26] and Turkey experience a wet season in the winter months. [27] Similarly, the wet season in the Negev desert of Israel extends from October through May. [28] At the boundary between the Mediterranean and monsoon climates lies the Sonoran desert, which receives the two rainy seasons associated with each climate regime. [29]

The wet season is known by many different local names throughout the world. For example, in Mexico it is known as "storm season". Different names are given to the various short "seasons" of the year by the Aboriginal tribes of Northern Australia: the wet season typically experienced there from December to March is called Gudjewg. The precise meaning of the word is disputed, although it is widely accepted to relate to the severe thunderstorms, flooding, and abundant vegetation growth commonly experienced at this time. [30]


Monsoon in the Vindhya mountain range, central India. Vindhya.jpg
Monsoon in the Vindhya mountain range, central India.

In tropical areas, when the monsoon arrives, high daytime high temperatures drop and overnight low temperatures increase, thus reducing diurnal temperature variation. [31] During the wet season, a combination of heavy rainfall and, in some places such as Hong Kong, an onshore wind, improve air quality. [32] In Brazil, the wet season is correlated with weaker trade winds off the ocean. [24] The pH level of water becomes more balanced due to the charging of local aquifers during the wet season. [33] Water also softens, as the concentration of dissolved materials reduces during the rainy season. [34] Erosion is also increased during rainy periods. [6] Arroyos that are dry at other times of the year fill with runoff, in some cases with water as deep as 10 feet (3.0 m). [35] Leaching of soils during periods of heavy rainfall depletes nutrients. [35] The higher runoff from land masses affects nearby ocean areas, which are more stratified, or less mixed, due to stronger surface currents forced by the heavy rainfall runoff. [36]


High rainfall can cause widespread flooding, [37] which can lead to landslides and mudflows in mountainous areas. [38] Such floods cause rivers to burst their banks and submerge homes. [39] The Ghaggar-Hakra River, which only flows during India's monsoon season, can flood and severely damage local crops. [40] Floods can be exacerbated by fires that occurred during the previous dry season, which cause soils which are sandy or composed of loam to become hydrophobic, or water repellent. [41] In various ways governments may help people deal with wet season floods. Flood plain mapping identifies which areas are more prone to flooding. [42] Instructions on controlling erosion through outreach[ clarification needed ] are also provided by telephone or the internet. [43]

Life adaptations

Equatorial savanna in the East Province of Cameroon. East - Guinean Savanna 001.jpg
Equatorial savanna in the East Province of Cameroon.


The wet season is the main period of vegetation growth within the Savanna climate regime. [44] However, this also means that wet season is a time for food shortages before crops reach their full maturity. [45] This causes seasonal weight changes for people in developing countries, with a drop occurring during the wet season until the time of the first harvest, when weights rebound. [46] Malaria incidence increases during periods of high temperature and heavy rainfall. [47]


Cows calve, or give birth, at the beginning of the wet season. [48] The onset of the rainy season signals the departure of the monarch butterfly from Mexico. [49] Tropical species of butterflies show larger dot markings on their wings to fend off possible predators and are more active during the wet season than the dry season. [50] Within the tropics and warmer areas of the subtropics, decreased salinity of near shore wetlands due to the rains causes an increase in crocodile nesting. [51] Other species, such as the arroyo toad, spawn within the couple of months after the seasonal rains. [52] Armadillos and rattlesnakes seek higher ground. [53]

See also

Related Research Articles

Climate Statistics of weather conditions in a given region over long periods

Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. Some of the meteorological variables that are commonly measured are temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, and precipitation. In a broader sense, climate is the state of the components of the climate system, which includes the ocean and ice on Earth. The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents.

Monsoon Seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea

A monsoon is traditionally a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea. Usually, the term monsoon is used to refer to the rainy phase of a seasonally changing pattern, although technically there is also a dry phase. The term is sometimes incorrectly used for locally heavy but short-term rains.

Tropics Region of Earth surrounding the Equator

The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at 23°26′11.7″ (or 23.43659°) N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at 23°26′11.7″ (or 23.43659°) S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth. The tropics are also referred to as the tropical zone and the torrid zone. The tropics include all zones on Earth where the Sun contacts a point directly overhead at least once during the solar year. Thus the maximum latitudes of the tropics have the same value positive and negative. Likewise they approximate, due to the earth not being a perfect sphere, the "angle" of the Earth's axial tilt. The "angle" itself is not perfectly fixed due chiefly to the influence of the moon, but the limits of tropics are a geographic convention, being an averaged form, not least the variance is very small.

Precipitation Product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity

In meteorology, precipitation is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity from clouds. The main forms of precipitation include drizzle, rain, sleet, snow, ice pellets, graupel and hail. Precipitation occurs when a portion of the atmosphere becomes saturated with water vapor, so that the water condenses and "precipitates" or falls. Thus, fog and mist are not precipitation but colloids, because the water vapor does not condense sufficiently to precipitate. Two processes, possibly acting together, can lead to air becoming saturated: cooling the air or adding water vapor to the air. Precipitation forms as smaller droplets coalesce via collision with other rain drops or ice crystals within a cloud. Short, intense periods of rain in scattered locations are called "showers."

Subtropics Geographic and climate zone

The subtropics are geographic and climate zones located roughly bordered the tropics at latitude 23° 27' and the temperate zones, north and south of the Equator.

Tropical climate

Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the Köppen climate classification. Tropical climates are characterized by monthly average temperatures of 18 ℃ (64.4 ℉) or higher year-round and feature hot temperatures. Annual precipitation is often abundant in tropical climates, and shows a seasonal rhythm to varying degrees. There are normally only two seasons in tropical climates, a wet season and a dry season. The annual temperature range in tropical climates is normally very small. Sunlight is intense.

Climate of India Climatic conditions of India

The climate of India comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography, making generalizations difficult. Climate in south India is generally hotter than north India. Most parts of the nation don't experience temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F) in winter, and the temperature usually tends to exceed 40 °C (104 °F) during summer. Based on the Köppen system, India hosts six major climatic sub types, ranging from arid deserts in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates, making it one of the most climatically diverse countries in the world. The country's meteorological department follows the international standard of four seasons with some local adjustments: winter, summer, monsoon (rainy) season, and a post-monsoon period.

Monsoon trough Weather phenomenon

The monsoon trough is a portion of the Intertropical Convergence Zone in the Western Pacific, as depicted by a line on a weather map showing the locations of minimum sea level pressure, and as such, is a convergence zone between the wind patterns of the southern and northern hemispheres.

United States rainfall climatology Characteristics of weather in U.S.

The characteristics of United States rainfall climatology differ significantly across the United States and those under United States sovereignty. Late summer and fall tropical cyclones bring precipitation which falls across the Gulf and Atlantic states. During the winter, and spring, Pacific storm systems bring Hawaii and the western United States most of their precipitation. Low pressure systems moving up the East coast bring cold season precipitation to the Mid-West and Northeast states, as well as Great Salt Lake and the Finger Lakes region. The snow to liquid ratio across the contiguous United States averages 13:1, meaning 13 inches (330 mm) of snow melts down to 1 inch (25 mm) of water.

Severe weather any dangerous meteorological phenomena with the potential to cause damage, serious social disruption, or loss of human life

Severe weather refers to any dangerous meteorological phenomena with the potential to cause damage, serious social disruption, or loss of human life. Types of severe weather phenomena vary, depending on the latitude, altitude, topography, and atmospheric conditions. High winds, hail, excessive precipitation, and wildfires are forms and effects of severe weather, as are thunderstorms, downbursts, tornadoes, waterspouts, tropical cyclones, and extratropical cyclones. Regional and seasonal severe weather phenomena include blizzards (snowstorms), ice storms, and duststorms.

Tropical savanna climate

Tropical savanna climate or tropical wet and dry climate is a type of climate that corresponds to the Köppen climate classification categories Aw and As. The driest month has less than 60 mm (2.4 in) of precipitation and also less than of precipitation.

Climate of the United States Varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features

The climate of the United States varies due to changes in latitude, and a range of geographic features, including mountains and deserts. Generally, on the mainland, the climate of the U.S. becomes warmer the further south one travels, and drier the further west, until one reaches the West Coast.

Rain Precipitation in the form of water droplets

Rain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. It provides suitable conditions for many types of ecosystems, as well as water for hydroelectric power plants and crop irrigation.

Bihar completely lies in the Sub Tropical region of Temperate zone and its climatic type is Humid Sub Tropical (Cwa).

Tropical monsoon climate

An area of tropical monsoon climate is a type of climate that corresponds to the Köppen climate classification category "Am". Tropical monsoon climates have monthly mean temperatures above 18 °C (64 °F) in every month of the year and a dry season. Tropical monsoon climates is the intermediate climate between the wet Af and the drier Aw.

Earth rainfall climatology sub-field of meteorology: study of rainfall

Earth rainfall climatology Is the study of rainfall, a sub-field of meteorology. Formally, a wider study includes water falling as ice crystals, i.e. hail, sleet, snow. The aim of rainfall climatology is to measure, understand and predict rain distribution across different regions of planet Earth, a factor of air pressure, humidity, topography, cloud type and raindrop size, via direct measurement and remote sensing data acquisition. Current technologies accurately predict rainfall 3–4 days in advance using numerical weather prediction. Geostationary orbiting satellites gather IR and visual wavelength data to measure realtime localised rainfall by estimating cloud albedo, water content, and the corresponding probability of rain. Geographic distribution of rain is largely governed by climate type, topography and habitat humidity. In mountainous areas, heavy precipitation is possible where upslope flow is maximized within windward sides of the terrain at elevation. On the leeward side of mountains, desert climates can exist due to the dry air caused by compressional heating. The movement of the monsoon trough, or intertropical convergence zone, brings rainy seasons to Savannah climes. The urban heat island effect leads to increased rainfall, both in amounts and intensity, downwind of cities. Warming may also cause changes in the precipitation pattern globally, including wetter conditions at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas. Precipitation is a major component of the water cycle, and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the planet. Approximately 505,000 cubic kilometres (121,000 cu mi) of water falls as precipitation each year; 398,000 cubic kilometres (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans. Given the Earth's surface area, that means the globally averaged annual precipitation is 990 millimetres (39 in). Climate classification systems such as the Köppen climate classification system use average annual rainfall to help differentiate between differing climate regimes.

Dhaka experiences a hot, wet and humid tropical climate. Under the Köppen climate classification, Dhaka has a tropical wet and dry climate. The city has a distinct monsoonal season, with an annual average temperature of 25 °C (77 °F) and monthly means varying between 18 °C (64 °F) in January and 29 °C (84 °F) in August. Nearly 80% of the annual average rainfall of 1,854 millimetres (73.0 in) occurs during the monsoon season which lasts from May until the end of September. Increasing air and water pollution emanating from traffic congestion and industrial waste are serious problems affecting public health and the quality of life in the city. Water bodies and wetlands around Dhaka are facing destruction as these are being filled up to construct multi-storied buildings and other real estate developments. Coupled with pollution, such erosion of natural habitats threatens to destroy much of the regional biodiversity.

The climate of Seoul features a humid continental climate with dry winter, called "Dwa" in the Köppen climate classification. Seoul is classed as having a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but temperature differences between the hottest part of summer and the depths of winter are extreme. In summer the influence of the North Pacific high-pressure system brings hot, humid weather with temperatures soaring as high as 35 °C (95 °F) on occasion. In winter the city is topographically influenced by expanding Siberian High-pressure zones and prevailing west winds, temperatures dropping almost as low as -20 °C (-4 °F) in severe cold waves. The bitterly cold days tend to come in three-day cycles regulated by rising and falling pressure systems, during winter snowfall can cause frosty weather in the city. The most pleasant seasons, for most people in the city are spring and autumn, when azure blue skies and comfortable temperatures are regular. Most of Seoul's precipitation falls in the summer monsoon period between June and September, as a part of East Asian monsoon season.

Climate of Africa Climate of the continent

The climate of Africa is a range of climates such as the equatorial climate, the tropical wet and dry climate, the tropical monsoon climate, the semi-arid climate, the desert climate, and the subtropical highland climate. Temperate climates are rare across the continent except at very high elevations and along the fringes. In fact, the climate of Africa is more variable by rainfall amount than by temperatures, which are consistently high. African deserts are the sunniest and the driest parts of the continent, owing to the prevailing presence of the subtropical ridge with subsiding, hot, dry air masses. Africa holds many heat-related records: the continent has the hottest extended region year-round, the areas with the hottest summer climate, the highest sunshine duration, and more.

Climate of Asia overview about the climate of Asia

The climate of Asia is dry across southeast sections, with dry across much of the interior. Some of the largest daily temperature ranges on Earth occur in western sections of Asia. The monsoon circulation dominates across southern and eastern sections, due to the presence of the Himalayas forcing the formation of a thermal low which draws in moisture during the summer. Southwestern sections of the continent experience low relief as a result of the subtropical high pressure belt; they are hot in the summer, warm to cool in winter, and may snow at higher altitudes. Siberia is one of the coldest places in the Northern Hemisphere, and can act as a source of arctic air mass for North America. The most active place on Earth for tropical cyclone activity lies northeast of the Philippines and south of Japan, and the phase of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation modulates where in Asia landfall is more likely to occur.


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