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Climate in Asia
Asia stretches about 5,000 miles from north of the Arctic Circle to south of the equator. From east to west Asia stretches nearly halfway around the world. This vast area has many different kinds of climate. Asia has some of the coldest and some of the hottest, some of the wettest and some of the driest places on earth.
The great interior lands of Asia are far from the ocean. Winds from the oceans cut off by the high mountain chains which surround the interior. Because of this, the climate of central Asia is one of extremes. Winters are long and cold, chilled by cold winds from the polar regions. Summers everywhere but the highlands are short and hot. Except in the mountains, there is little rainfall. Consequently, much of the region is desert.
Northern Asia has much the same sort of climate as central Asia, except that is has more rainfall. Winters are extremely cold-the coldest inhabited place in the world is a village in Siberia called Verkhoyansk. The temperature there sometimes drops to 90 degrees below zero.
In southern Asia the climate is quite different. Here is is hot all year round, except in the mountains. The temperature in the lowlands may reach as high as 125 degrees. There are no summer and winter as we know them. Instead, there is a rainy season and a dry season.
The rainy season usually lasts from June through October. During that period it rains heavily everyday. More rain falls in this part of the Asia than in any other place in the world. Some areas in India get more than 450 inches of rainfall during the rainy season.
The rainy and dry seasons are caused by winds called monsoons, which blow from central Asia toward the southern and eastern edges of the continent. Winter monsoons are dry winds because they blow over dry land. They are cold because they come from a cold region. The summer monsoons blow inland from the oceans, bringing moisture as far inland as they reach.
The rainy season is very important to the millions of people who live in southern and eastern Asia. This is the reason when they planted the crops on which they depend for their food. Without the rains the plants will not grow. Drought brings famine, and thousands of people starve. Sometimes the monsoons are late, and crops cannot be planted in time to ripen. Sometimes the monsoons bring floods.
Southwestern Asia is another very dry region. Summers there are long and very hot. Winters are relatively mild except in the far interior. In certain areas of southwestern Asia, winter is the rainy season. It is also the growing season, because crops would die in the hot, dry summers.
Climate has a great influence on the way people live. For example, the people of northern Siberia live in a region of long, extremely cold winters and short summers. The soil is permanently frozen beneath the surface, making farming impossible. The natives of northern Siberia must depend for their living on hunting and fishing.
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