The climate in India ranges from Arctic-like conditions in the high Himalayas to blast-furnace heat in many parts of the country during the summer, and heavy monsoon downpours during the rainy season. At other times, the weather can be mild and delightfully pleasant.
New Delhi has an altitude of 700 feet above sea level in north-central India. The weather in the capital is most pleasant during the temperate months of October-November and February, periods characterized by cool nights and warm days. Although the winter months of December and January are usually fairly temperate, then it can become surprisingly cold at night. From April through mid-July daytime temperatures often top 110F. The nights cool off somewhat but are still hot. From mid-July to September, the occasional monsoon rains combine high humidity with high temperatures.
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), India's financial capital, is a port on the Arabian Sea in the western state of Maharashtra. On a map, Mumbai appears as a peninsula (actually two islands) off the west coast of India. A great natural harbor provides 75 square miles of sheltered deep water.
Mumbai has a tropical climate with three distinct seasons. The heat and high humidity of April, May, and October make life quite uncomfortable. The monsoon season, June to September, brings a welcome relief although the humidity remains high. An average of 77 inches of rain falls during the monsoon. Late November through February is cooler, although the days are still hot and sunny.
Calcutta, the capital of the state of West Bengal, is situated on the Hooghly River about 80 miles north of the Bay of Bengal. Because the city is built on near sea-level marshland, Calcutta and its suburbs suffer from poor drainage and periodic flooding - especially during the monsoon, June to October. From November through February, temperatures are pleasant. The heat begins in March, and occasional "nor'westers" bring welcome cool winds and rain from the Himalayas through May. Then the overcast sky of the monsoon brings relief from the glare of the sun, even though the temperature remains high.
Chennai (formerly known as Madras), the capital of Tamil Nadu, lies on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, about 900 miles north of the Equator. Chennai has a medium-sized artificial harbor and a wide sandy beach that extends for several hundred miles along the coast. The surrounding countryside is a largely flat, coastal plain devoted to rice cultivation. It is green and fertile during part of the year but dry and dusty during the rainless spring and early summer months.
The climate is tropical throughout the year. December and January are relatively cool months. The weather heats up drastically from March through June. Unfortunately, as the temperature rises, so does the humidity. Premonsoon rains bring slight relief in July/August, and the temperatures decrease slowly until the cooler season returns in November. During the hottest months, sea breezes occasionally lessen the discomfort.
Chennai averages 48 inches of rain annually, although droughts occur when the monsoon fails. The most rain falls from October through December, but frequent showers can occur from May to September. Occasionally, cyclones strike the coast.
Upland plain (Deccan Plateau) in the south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges, deserts in the west, the Himalayas in the north
Coal (fourth-largest reserves in the world), iron ore, manganese, mica, bauxite, rare earth elements, titanium ore, chromite, natural gas, diamonds, petroleum, limestone, arable land
Droughts; flash floods, as well as widespread and destructive flooding from monsoonal rains; severe thunderstorms; earthquakes
Volcanism: Barren Island (elevation 354 m) in the Andaman Sea has been active in recent years
256,116 Square Miles
663,340 Square Kilometers
Deforestation; soil erosion; overgrazing; desertification; air pollution from industrial effluents and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage and runoff of agricultural pesticides; tap water is not potable throughout the country; the huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources
Environment - International Agreements:
Party To: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements