Climate

   Burma is located in tropical rather than equatorial Southeast Asia, and most parts of the country experience three distinct seasons that are determined by the monsoons. The southwest monsoon, bringing warm and wet winds from the Indian Ocean, reaches the country in mid-May or June, creating a rainy season that usually lasts until October. This is vital for agriculture because most croplands are rain-fed. The northeast monsoon, bringing cooler and dry winds from the Asian continent, dominates weather patterns during the cool-dry season of November to February. A hot, dry season prevails from March to May. The hottest month, April, witnesses the Thingyan New Year's celebrations. In Rangoon (Yangon) and other parts of Lower Burma, rain is abundant but falls mostly during May-September. In the Dry Zone of central Burma, rainfall is scarce throughout the year; around Pagan (Bagan), semidesert conditions prevail. Higher elevations on the Shan Plateau and other upland regions along the border with China, India, and Thailand enjoy cooler climates, and the highest mountains in the north, such as Hkakabo Razi, are snow-capped.
   The monsoons not only determine the times of year that rice is planted and harvested, but also festivals associated with Buddhism and even the patterns of warfare. Offensives carried out by the Tatmadaw against ethnic minority insurgents such as the Karen National Union have usually reached their peak during the dry seasons; the coming of the rains halts, or slows down, military operations.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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