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South East Asia

The climate of SE Asia is typically wet across all the countries from Myanmar in the west to the Philippines in the east and Indonesia in the south. The monsoon circulation dominates across all the countries but does not reach eastern Indonesia which has the driest climates of the region. The summer monsoon is due to the presence of the Himalayas forcing the formation of a thermal low which draws in moisture and strong and persistent southwest winds. The most active place on Earth for tropical cyclone activity lies northeast of the Philippines and the Philippines, Vietnam and even Laos, Cambodia and Thailand can be influenced by these cyclonic and potentially damaging storms. In the winter months the northeast monsoon prevails but is weaker over the mainland countries which are typically drier and cooler in the winter months. The phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) modulates where in Asia landfall is more likely to occur but conversely can lead to widespread drought in one or more countries of the region from time to time.