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March 28 2012

Study Links Past Changes in Monsoon to Major Shifts in Indian Civilizations


A fundamental shift in the Indian monsoon has occurred over the last few millennia, from a steady humid monsoon that favored lush vegetation to extended periods of drought, reports a new study led by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). The study has implications for our understanding of the monsoonfs response to climate change.

The Indian peninsula sustains over a billion people, yet it lies at the same latitude as the Sahara Desert. Without a monsoon, most of India would be dry and uninhabitable. The ability to predict the timing and amount of the next yearfs monsoon is vital, yet even our knowledge of the monsoonfs past variability remains incomplete.

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