How The Himalayas Shape Climate In Asia

The Himalayas seen here in India.


The Himalayas are a dominating mountain range. Ten of the world's mountains over 8,000 m lie within the Himalayas. Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, is among those mountains. The Himalayan Mountain Range separates the Indian Subcontinent from the lofty Tibetan Plateau in China.

The Himalayas play another major role in Asia: Influence the climate of South Asia. Mountain ranges, depending on their height, can play a large role in shaping the climate of a region. Mountains can also create their own micro-climates with consideration to the terrain and elevation. The Himalayan Mountains are a major example of how high mountains shape the climate, not just locally, but in a continent.

How India's Climate Is Shaped By The Himalayas?

India is located to the south of the Himalayas. Most of India experiences a warm, humid climate. The low latitudes and the warm Indian Ocean washing the southern shores of India influences the climate pattern of the country. With the exception of the desert region in western India, the seasonal monsoon patterns heavily influence rainfall, and when that rainfall occurs. Most of India experiences high rainfall, particularly in the summer months. The height of the Himalayan Mountains concentrates most of the monsoonal rainfall on the Indian Subcontinent. This same mountain range blocks cold winds from Siberia from penetrating the region. This is why most of India has a warm, tropical climate with high precipitation.

How Mongolia and Western China's Climate Is Shaped By the Himalayas?

Conversely, the regions north of the Himalayas are much colder and drier. Western China and Mongolia are examples of a cold desert climate. These are regions of very little rainfall and bitterly cold winters. The high latitude and elevation of Mongolia and western China are responsible for the cold winters in these areas. China's Taklamakan Desert is much hotter during the summer as elevations are lower than found in Mongolia. Being north of the mountain range (and north of the Tibetan Plateau), bitterly cold winter winds influenced by the Siberian High Pressure system can blow through the region unmitigated. The Himalayas also create a rain shadow. Rain from the summer monsoons cannot easily penetrate the mountains. The monsoon winds from South Asia cannot easily reach regions north of the Himalayas. Thus, the reason why the Taklamakan and Gobi deserts exist.

Seasonal monsoons, latitude, and elevation play major roles in shaping the climate in Asia. The Himalayan Mountains further influence the climate by serving as a barrier. The particularly lofty mountains concentrate warmth and moisture in some regions, and block it from other regions.


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