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Watch start of India’s monsoon season

This year’s monsoon rainfall began on June 5 in southern India. This animation, made from satellite data, shows where the precipitation fell as the season started.

This year, the monsoon season in southern India started a little later than normal. The monsoon rainfall began on June 5, 2015. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) core satellite gathered rainfall data that was used to create the animation above, that shows where the precipitation fell as the season started.

Monsoon season refers to the big seasonal winds blowing from the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea in the southwest bringing heavy rainfall to the area.

Due to El Nino conditions, some meteorologists predict that monsoon rainfall will be below normal this year. Cooling rainfall comes to India after high temperatures preceding the monsoon have caused the reported deaths of more than 2,300 people.

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Rainfall data is captured by the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite mission. GPM orbits in space to observe precipitation around the world. A snapshot of the precipitation is taken every 30 minutes, then processed and made available to users 18 hours later. New rain maps are routinely created by programs that merge the data from the GPM Core Observatory, a joint mission of NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and a dozen other weather satellites. These maps, called Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG), are false-colored with rain in greens and reds, and snowfall depicted in blues and purples.

Rainfall estimates for the week of June 1 through 8, 2015, showed that some heavy showers have dropped over 120 millimeters (4.7 inches) of rain in the few days before June 8.

The analysis also indicates that the country of Nepal, which was recently hit by devastating earthquakes, was having some heavy rainfall preceding the monsoon in that area.

Bottom line: An animation using NASA satellite data shows where precipitation fell as the 2015 monsoon season started in southern India.

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