Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Andrew J. Waskey
A MONSOON IS any wind that reverses direction seasonally. These occur in many parts of the globe, but the most famous is the Indian monsoon wind. The name monsoon is an adoption of the Arabic word mausim , which means season. For centuries, Arab sailors took the seasonal mausim as a wind that would carry them to India and beyond. The term was originally applied to the Indian monsoon. However, as the phenomenon came to be studied more thoroughly, the term monsoon has been applied to other annual weather cycles in both tropical and subtropical regions. It has also been applied to evidence of weather patterns in the geologic past, such as a monsoon system over the prehistoric super-continent of Pangaea, and to some extreme continental climate patterns. Monsoons can occur in summer months or in winter months. Those that occur in summer months usually blow as a prevailing wind ...