Climate Change Overview

Country Summary

This page presents high-level information for Nepal's climate zones and its seasonal cycle for mean temperature and precipitation for the latest climatology, 1991-2020. Climate zone classifications are derived from the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system, which divides climates into five main climate groups divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. The five main groups are A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). All climates except for those in the E group are assigned a seasonal precipitation sub-group (second letter).  Climate classifications are identified by hovering your mouse over the legend. A narrative overview of Nepal's country context and climate is provided following the visualizations.

Nepal is a landlocked country of South Asia, located in the Himalayas between India and China. The terrain is generally mountainous and contains many of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest (8,848 meters [m]). The country also has low-lying areas in the south with elevations less than 100 m. About 80% of the country’s 28 million inhabitants (2019) live in rural areas. Small-scale, subsistence agriculture is a mainstay of Nepal’s economy, employing 69% of the country’s workforce in 2015. Despite this, agriculture contributed only 25% to GDP in 2019, compared to a 60% contribution from the service sector. Nepal’s National Planning Commission estimated in 2018 that around 28.6% of the population experiences multidimensional poverty, with a clear divide between rural areas, where the rate is 33%, and urban areas where the rate is 7%. An estimated 8% of Nepal’s population are undernourished.

Water and forests are Nepal’s most abundant natural resources, with freshwater (derived from glaciers, snowmelt, and rainfall) accounting for an estimated 2.27% of the total world supply. This water feeds the country’s major rivers: Koshi, Gandaki, and Karnali. Together, these river systems supply freshwater to a large portion of the 500 million people who live in the Ganges river basin. Nepal’s varied topography and social vulnerability make the country particularly susceptible to geological and climate-related disasters. Weakness in effective response mechanisms and strategies for dealing with natural hazards has historically exacerbated this vulnerability. An increase in soil erosion, landslides, flash floods, and droughts has been reported in recent years across the country, with increased intensity and impact on the lives and livelihoods of the Nepalese. Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts and recent studies by the Asian Development Bank suggested Nepal faces losing 2.2% of annual GDP due to climate change by 2050. Nepal ratified the Paris Climate Agreement and its Second Nationally Determined Communication (NDC) in 2020. Nepal’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC (2014) (NC2) identifies the country’s energy, agriculture, water resources, forestry and biodiversity and health sectors as the most at risk to climate change.