How does the monsoon cycle affect agricultural production?

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marbar57 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Bay of Bengal Branch of the SW Monsoon is critical for the economy of India.  Indian agriculture is dependent on the rains to water their major crops such as cotton, rice, and grains.  In drought years, when the monsoons fail to come, hunger, privation, and severe economic losses occur.  Except for occasional flooding, the monsoons in this region of the world are very welcome, not only for the agricultural aspect, but for relief from the oppressive heat of the region.

Monsoons are not always good for agruculture, however.  The European Monsoon, or Return of the Westerlies, brings low pressure to Western Europe and ushers in unseasonably bad weather.  These storms bring lower than average temperatures, hail, strong winds, and torrential rains.  Crops fail to mature, floodingoccurs and crops rot in the fields, fruit is damaged by hail, or crops are simply blown over!  These storms can be quite devastating in economical terms, as well as causing hardship to the population.

In our area of the world (United States), we get a phenomenon called 'El Nino," a situation spawned by monsoon-like winds and causing conditions similar to the European Monsoons of Europe.  Much damage has been done in the past to the California coast, where much of our country's produce is grown.