Wet season

Wet season

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The the wet season, or rainy season, is the time of year, covering one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region occurs. The term green season is also sometimes used as a euphemism
Euphemism
A euphemism is the substitution of a mild, inoffensive, relatively uncontroversial phrase for another more frank expression that might offend or otherwise suggest something unpleasant to the audience...

 by tourist authorities. Areas with wet seasons are dispersed across portions of the tropics
Tropics
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 and subtropics
Subtropics
The subtropics are the geographical and climatical zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S...

. Under the Koppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

, for tropical climates
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

, a wet season month is defined as a month where average precipitation is 60 millimetres (2.4 in) or more. In contrast to areas with savanna
Savanna
A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of C4 grasses.Some...

 climates and monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as 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...

 regimes, mediterranean climate
Mediterranean climate
A Mediterranean climate is the climate typical of most of the lands in the Mediterranean Basin, and is a particular variety of subtropical climate...

s have wet winters and dry summers. Tropical rainforest
Tropical rainforest
A tropical rainforest is an ecosystem type that occurs roughly within the latitudes 28 degrees north or south of the equator . This ecosystem experiences high average temperatures and a significant amount of rainfall...

s technically do not have dry or wet seasons, since their rainfall is equally distributed throughout the year. Some areas with pronounced rainy seasons will see a break in rainfall mid-season, when the intertropical convergence zone
Intertropical Convergence Zone
The Intertropical Convergence Zone , known by sailors as The Doldrums, is the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together....

 or monsoon trough
Monsoon trough
The monsoon trough is that portion of the Intertropical Convergence Zone which extends into or through a monsoon circulation, 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...

 moves poleward of their location during the middle of the warm season.

When the wet season occurs during a warm season, or summer
Summer
Summer is the warmest of the four temperate seasons, between spring and autumn. At the summer solstice, the days are longest and the nights are shortest, with day-length decreasing as the season progresses after the solstice...

, precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 falls mainly during the late afternoon and early evening hours. The wet season is a time when air quality improves, freshwater quality improves, and vegetation grows significantly, leading to crop yields late in the season. Floods cause rivers to overflow their banks, and some animals to retreat to higher ground. Soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 nutrients diminish and erosion increases. The incidence of malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 increases in areas where the rainy season coincides with high temperatures. Animals have adaptation and survival strategies for the wetter regime. Often, the previous dry season leads to food shortages in the wet season, as the crops have yet to mature.

Character of the rainfall



In areas where the heavy rainfall is associated with a wind shift, the wet season becomes known as the monsoon. Since rainfall during the wet season is predominantly due to daytime heating which leads to diurnal thunderstorm activity within a pre-existing moist airmass, rainfall is mainly focused during the late afternoon and early evening hours within savannah and monsoon regimes. This also leads to much of the total rainfall each day falling during the initial minutes of the downpour, before the storms mature into their stratiform stage. While most locations have only one wet season, areas of the tropics can experience two wet seasons as the monsoon trough, or Intertropical Convergence Zone, can pass over locations in the tropics twice per year. Since rain forests have equitable rainfall throughout the year, they do not technically have a wet season.

The situation is different for locations within the Mediterranean climate regime. In the western United States, during the cold season from September through May, extratropical cyclone
Extratropical cyclone
Extratropical cyclones, sometimes called mid-latitude cyclones or wave cyclones, are a group of cyclones defined as synoptic scale low pressure weather systems that occur in the middle latitudes of the Earth having neither tropical nor polar characteristics, and are connected with fronts and...

s from the Pacific ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 move inland into the region due to a southward migration of the jet stream
Jet stream
Jet streams are fast flowing, narrow air currents found in the atmospheres of some planets, including Earth. The main jet streams are located near the tropopause, the transition between the troposphere and the stratosphere . The major jet streams on Earth are westerly winds...

 during the cold season. This shift in the jet stream brings much of the annual precipitation to the region, and also brings the potential for heavy rain and strong low pressure systems. The peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 of Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 experiences very similar weather to the western United States in this regard.

Areas affected


Areas with a savanna climate in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

, such as Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

, Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

, Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, and Botswana
Botswana
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 have a distinct rainy season. Also within the savannah climate regime, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 and East Texas
East Texas
East Texas is a distinct geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas.According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area "may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone...

 have a rainy season. Monsoon regions include southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 (including Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

), northern sections of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

's North, Polynesia
Polynesia
Polynesia is a subregion of Oceania, made up of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The indigenous people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs...

, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, western and southern Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, the Desert Southwest of the United States, southern Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

, portions of northeast Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

.

Northern Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

 experiences two wet seasons: one in late spring and the other in early winter. In western Africa, there are two rainy seasons across southern sections with only one across the north. Within the Mediterranean climate regime, the west coast of the United States and the Mediterranean coastline of Italy, Greece, and Turkey experience a wet season in the winter months. Similarly, the wet season in the Negev desert of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 extends from October through May. At the boundary between the Mediterranean and monsoon climates lies the Sonoran desert
Sonoran Desert
The Sonoran Desert is a North American desert which straddles part of the United States-Mexico border and covers large parts of the U.S. states of Arizona and California and the northwest Mexican states of Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. It is one of the largest and hottest...

, which receives the two rainy seasons associated with each climate regime.

Effects



In tropical areas, when the monsoon arrives daytime high temperatures drop and overnight low temperatures increase. During the wet season, a combination of heavy rainfall and in some areas, such as Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, a wind more off the ocean, significantly improve air quality. In Brazil, the wet season is correlated to weaker trade winds off the ocean. The pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 level of water becomes more balanced due to the charging of local aquifer
Aquifer
An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. The study of water flow in aquifers and the characterization of aquifers is called hydrogeology...

s during the wet season. Water also softens, as dissolved materials lower in concentration during the rainy season. Erosion is also increased during rainy periods. Arroyos
Arroyo (creek)
An arroyo , a Spanish word translated as brook, and also called a wash is usually a dry creek or stream bed—gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Wadi is a similar term in Africa. In Spain, a rambla has a similar meaning to arroyo.-Types and processes:Arroyos...

 that are dry at other times of the year fill with runoff, in some cases with water as deep as 10 feet (3 m). Leaching of soils during periods of heavy rainfall depletes nutrients. The excessive runoff from land masses significantly impacts nearby ocean areas, which are more stratified
Stratification (water)
Water stratification occurs when water masses with different properties - salinity , oxygenation , density , temperature - form layers that act as barriers to water mixing...

, or less mixed, due to stronger surface currents forced by the heavy rainfall runoff.

Floods


Widespread flooding can occur if rainfall becomes excessive, which can lead to landslides and mudflows in mountainous areas. Such floods cause rivers to leave their banks and homes to go underwater. Floods can be exacerbated by fires during the previous dry season, which cause soils which are sandy or composed of loam
Loam
Loam is soil composed of sand, silt, and clay in relatively even concentration . Loam soils generally contain more nutrients and humus than sandy soils, have better infiltration and drainage than silty soils, and are easier to till than clay soils...

 to become hydrophobic, or repellent of water. There are various ways government organizations help their residents deal with wet season floods. Flood plain mapping is conducted, which helps diagnose what areas are more prone to flooding. Instructions on how to control erosion through outreach is also done via telephone or the internet.

Life adaptations



Humans


The wet season is the main period of vegetation growth within the Savanna climate regime. However, this also means that wet season is a time for food shortages before crops reach their full maturity. 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. Malaria incidence increases during periods of high temperature and heavy rainfall.

Animals


Cows calve, or give birth, at the beginning of the beor wet season. The onset of the rainy season signals the departure of the Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterfly
The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly , in the family Nymphalidae. It is perhaps the best known of all North American butterflies. Since the 19th century, it has been found in New Zealand, and in Australia since 1871 where it is called the Wanderer...

 from Mexico. Tropical species of butterflies
Butterfly
A butterfly is a mainly day-flying insect of the order Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths. Like other holometabolous insects, the butterfly's life cycle consists of four parts: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most species are diurnal. Butterflies have large, often brightly coloured...

 show larger dot markings on their wings to fend off possible predators and are more active during the wet season than the dry season
Dry season
The dry season is a term commonly used when describing the weather in the tropics. The weather in the tropics is dominated by the tropical rain belt, which oscillates from the northern to the southern tropics over the course of the year...

. 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. Other species, such as the arroyo toad
Arroyo toad
The Arroyo toad, Anaxyrus californicus , is a stocky, blunt-nosed, warty-skinned species of toad, between 5 and 7.5 cm long. It has horizontal pupils, and is greenish, grey or salmon on the dorsum with a light-colored stripe across the head and eyelids...

, spawn within the couple of months after the seasonal rains. Armadillo
Armadillo
Armadillos are New World placental mammals, known for having a leathery armor shell. Dasypodidae is the only surviving family in the order Cingulata, part of the superorder Xenarthra along with the anteaters and sloths. The word armadillo is Spanish for "little armored one"...

s and rattlesnake
Rattlesnake
Rattlesnakes are a group of venomous snakes of the genera Crotalus and Sistrurus of the subfamily Crotalinae . There are 32 known species of rattlesnake, with between 65-70 subspecies, all native to the Americas, ranging from southern Alberta and southern British Columbia in Canada to Central...

s seek higher ground.