India is known as the land of the monsoons, but it also has a very diverse weather and climate. There is the Rajasthan desert on the northwest and Cherrapunji, the wettest place on earth, in the northeast. Its 7500 km long coastal belt has a typical maritime climate, with warm and humid weather the year round, whereas a continental type of climate prevails in the interior with wide daily and seasonal variations of temperature. Over the southern peninsula, a major share of the rainfall comes from the northeast monsoon, while the north receives good rainfall in winter from the so-called western disturbances.

For meteorological purposes, India has been divided into 36 meteorological sub-divisions, which are regions that are homogeneous in terms of weather and climate and are of comparable size. Ideally, they should have been delineated strictly on the basis of natural factors. However, for reasons of practical convenience, compilation of statistics or issue of warnings, they have been made to conform to state or district boundaries.

Out of the 36 meteorological sub-divisions of India, 12 are identical to the states after which they have been named. These are Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttaranchal, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.

There are 3 sub-divisions that are named as groups of states which have a smaller geographical area and have a similar climate. These are ‘Haryana and Delhi’, ‘Assam and Meghalaya’, and ‘Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura’.

On the other hand, some of the larger states have been bifurcated into two meteorological sub-divisions. Thus we have 6 sub-divisions named ‘East Rajasthan’, ‘West Rajasthan’, ‘East Uttar Pradesh’, ‘West Uttar Pradesh’, ‘East Madhya Pradesh’ and ‘West Madhya Pradesh’. The state of Gujarat has 2 sub-divisions which are named as ‘Gujarat Region’ and ‘Saurashtra and Kutch’. The states of West Bengal and Sikkim together are covered by 2 sub-divisions named as ‘Gangetic West Bengal’ and ‘Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim’.

There are other larger states which have a greater variation in climate within them. Karnataka is divided into 3 sub-divisions of ‘Coastal Karnataka’, ‘North Interior Karnataka’ and ‘South Interior Karnataka’. The state of Maharashtra is split into as many as 4 sub-divisions called ‘Madhya Maharashtra’, ‘Marathwada’, ‘Vidarbha’ and ‘Konkan and Goa’, which combines the heavy rainfall coastal region with the neighbouring state of Goa.

Finally, the ‘Lakshadweep’ islands in the Arabian Sea and the ‘Andaman and Nicobar Islands’ in the Bay of Bengal are regarded as 2 more meteorological sub-divisions.  

That completes the list of the 36 meteorological sub-divisions of India. So the next time you hear about heavy rains lashing Konkan and Goa, or a dry spell continuing over Telangana, or thundershowers over south Madhya Maharashtra, there is no need to feel lost; just remember the sub-divisions!