Soil and Climate of West Bengal

In this module, we shall learn about the The climate of West Bengal, Soils of West Bengal, Brown forest soils, Terai soils, Colluvial and skeletal soils, Laterite and lateritic soils, Red soils, Coastal saline soils, and Alluvial soils.

This is the fourth topic under the West Bengal Geography Notes for WBCS Module. The links to the previous chapters are listed below:

  1. Introduction to West Bengal Geography
  2. Physiographic divisions of West Bengal
  3. Rivers of West Bengal

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Rivers of West Bengal Free PDF Download is provided at the end of this post.

The climate of West Bengal

  • The climate of West Bengal experiences great variation, mainly in accordance with the topography and location of the area being referred to.
  • For instance, while South Bengal experiences a tropical savannah climate, North Bengal witnesses humid subtropical weather conditions.
  • The seasons here can broadly be divided into five main categories: spring, summer, rainy season, autumn, and winter. The autumn here is comparatively shorter than other parts of India, lasting only from the beginning of October to the middle of November.
Summer Temperature:Maximum 450 C, Minimum 200 C
Winter Temperature:Maximum 150 C, Minimum 80 C
Average Rainfall:175 cm
Best Time To Visit:October to February (Deltas and Plains)

March to June and September to December (Mountains)

Soils of West Bengal

Soil is the natural medium for the growth of plants under favorable conditions.

In general, the soils of West Bengal are broadly divided into four types

  • Mountain soils
  • Alluvial soils
  • Red soils and
  • Saline soils.

But in modern classification, soils of West Bengal have been divided the State into seven broad classes which are further sub-divided into small groups. These are:

  • Brown forest soils
  • Terai soils
  • Colluvial and skeletal soils
  • Laterite and lateritic soils
  • Red soils
  • Coastal saline soils
  • Alluvial soils.

Brown Forest Soils

  • Found in Darjiling district
  • Landslide occurs during the rainy season
  • Have high fertility status but the crop performance is not satisfactory due to low soil depth, high acidity, low temperature, and inadequate sunshine.

Terai soils

  • Found in the Darjiling and Jalpaiguri districts of North Bengal.
  • These soils are derived from the mountain regions of the Himalayas.
  • Their color varies from deep black to grey-black.
  • Due to heavy leaching, soils are acidic with pH ranging between 4.7 and 5.8. As a whole, the soil is poor in available plant nutrients.

Colluvial and skeletal soils

  • Occupy western part of the State.
  • This is physiographically linked with the Rajmahal and Chotanagpur plateau.
  • This area is undulating in nature, hence the upper convex slope has poor soil depth and skeletal in nature whereas the lower part of the valley has good soil depth and colluvial in nature.

Laterite and lateritic soils

  • Are red in color and formed over laterite beds with typical honey-combed structure and are produced under humid tropical conditions.
  • The soils are acidic, poor in organic matter, nitrogen, available phosphorus, and calcium but the soil are rich in iron.
  • In West Bengal, laterite soils are found in wide areas in the districts of Birbhum, Barddhaman, Bankura, Medinipur, and Puruliya.

Red Soil

  • This type of soil is not only found in the western part of the State but also in the northern part, especially in the Barind tract.
  • Red soils are mainly developed on ancient crystalline rocks.
  • These soils are coarse-textured, mildly acidic (pH 5.5-6.5), poor in organic matter, and other plant nutrients.
  • The percentage of base saturation is more than the laterite and lateritic soils and they are loamy in texture.

Coastal saline soils

  • Occur near the Bay of Bengal.
  • This area is influenced by the saline tidal water of the Bay.
  • Here the earthen embankments are provided to save the land from saline water.

Alluvial soils

  • Occupy the major areas drained by innumerable rivers.
  • The soils of the alluvial tract are divided into three groups depending upon the nature of the parent material
    • the Ganga alluvium,
    • Vindhya alluvium and
    • Tista alluvium.
  • These soils are the most fertile.
  • They may be divided into sand, silt, loam or clay according to texture depending upon the type of alluvial matter brought by the floodwater.

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