20 May 2008

Letter 1.39

I've been investigating the weather condition in Ceylon - or, at least, the condition of the weather surveys in Ceylon (which is not quite the same), and have learned the following facts of interest or curiosity: It seems that the indigenous or native weather is 'clear cool nights, bright mornings, and afternoon or evening thunderstorms, particularly in the S.W.'. (Particularly what?) But we only have this weather when there is no outside interference, and 'Particularly in March and April and less so in October and November.' Other kinds of weather, it appears, then, are foreign imports, like American cars, penicillin, and English beer; and these effectively flood the market (literally!) and the local weather doesn't have a chance.

The SW monsoon apparently starts as SE trade winds, obeying Ferrel's Law (he must be someone connected with the Stock Exchange to be able to dictate laws to the trade winds) begin blowing from the SW as they cross the Equator. Then, because of 'increased thermal intensity' - i.e. heat - in India, or for some other undiscovered reason - the meteorologists are quarrelling about it - it blows harder, becomes damper, and is called the Southwest Monsoon.

Northwest India, according to my geography, is some hundreds of miles away from the Indian - or any other - Ocean. Perhaps the National Geographic, in stating that the Somali current runs from East Africa to Northwest India, believes not only that it is a hundred miles wide and thousands of feet deep (is it fresh water or salt?), but also that it has the ability to flow uphill across half the subcontinent - indeed 'a phenomenon known nowhere else on earth in such magnitude and extent'…

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