Arizona’s monsoon, which runs from June 15 to September 30, features periodic heavy rain, high winds, and flash floods. It comes along with equally intriguing phenomena like dust devils and dazzling sunsets.
According to Christopher Castro, associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona, the state’s monsoon is similar to India’s. In that country, the large-scale atmospheric circulation changes because of the presence of the Tibetan Plateau, Castro says.
“The heating of the land surface associated with the presence of that plateau draws low-level moisture from the Indian Ocean onto the Indian subcontinent, and that happens at a regular time every year,” he says. “So, very similar to India, we have a Mexican Plateau here. It’s about a third as high. But there’s still a regular seasonal reversal of the atmospheric circulation that’s accompanied by a regular increase in rainfall.”
Here are Castro’s answers to questions about the monsoon and other interesting weather.