From Maswin (Arabic), to Monção (Portuguese), to Moesson (Dutch), to Monsoon (English), the etymology of the word is not entirely clear, nor is its definition precise, although these different terms all refer to seasonal changes in wind and rainfall, depending on where they occur. However, it is clear that monsoonal climates are characterized by strong seasonality in wind and rainfall patterns, typically with onshore winds and increased rainfall during summer and offshore winds and reduced rainfall during winter. The Northern Hemisphere monsoons are one of the most prominent examples of Earth system interactions in which the solid Earth influences the circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, consequently forcing aspects of both regional and global climate. The monsoons also represent a climate phenomenon that has large direct and indirect societal impact. In this paper we review the contribution of scientific ocean drilling to our understanding of Earth’s current monsoons as well as those through geological history, back to tens of millions of years ago.
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