Monsoon Warning: Data hint at wet and blustery future

10:35am, July 24, 2002

Asian monsoons have been intensifying over the last 400 years, and they're slated to get worse, a team of earth scientists says. Stronger monsoon rains could cause severe flooding and erosion that would affect up to half the world's population.

The South Asian monsoon carries much-needed rain to billions of people in India, China, Bangladesh, and other countries. The monsoon season begins in summer when northeast trade winds reverse direction and carry water-saturated air inland.

"The South Asian monsoon . . . is key to agriculture and water resources," comments Gerald A. Meehl at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "The past and future behavior of the monsoon is therefore of critical interest."

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