Country

Nepal

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Nepal.

Climate Data Historical

Nepal’s climate is as diverse as the country’s topography, which encompasses eight of the ten highest mountains in the world and extends to the rim of the Gangetic plains that have elevations below 300 meters above mean sea level. Rainfall in Nepal is driven by the monsoons, which migrate through the country in the summer months (between June and September) and bring 250-450 mm of rainfall each month to a majority of the country (except for the north-western mountains that receive between 100-150 mm per month). Winters are largely dry in Nepal. Average annual temperature for the whole country is 27°C and average rainfall is 1900 mm annually. However, these statistics vary by region and altitude. The country’s principal climatic regions span a rich topography that range in elevation from 100 to 8848 meters in a north-south trajectory of only 80 km and include the following: 

  • Terai plains, a gently sloping region on the rim of the Gangetic plains encompassing elevations below 300 meters with humid tropical climates and average temperatures of 30°C in the summer and 10-15°C in the winter.
  • Siwalik hills, a zone covering all areas between 300-1500 meters above sea level of steeply sloped and heavily vegetated weak consolidated bedrock, with a moist tropical climate and average annual temperatures of 25°C.
  • Middle Mountains, a temperate zone with average annual temperatures of 20°C, at elevations of 1000-2500 m.
  • High Mountains, a cool, sub-alpine zone located between 2200 and 4000 meters above sea level and with average summer temperatures of 5-15°C and winter temperatures below 0°C. This area includes the Himalayan chain and inner valleys (with shallow and resistant to weathering soils).
  • High Himalayas, an alpine to arctic zone higher than 4000 meters above sea level, with average annual temperatures of <0 to 5°C. Soils in the high Himalayas are composed primarily of limestone shale and subject to physical weathering.

Key historical climate trends are summarized below:

Temperature

  • There is some debate about whether average annual temperatures in Nepal have risen since 1960. According to Shrestha et al. (1999), Dhakal (2003), and Liuand Chen (2000), temperatures between 1977 and 1994 rose between 0.5°C-0.6°C per decade, particularly in the northern mountains, while McSweeney et al. suggest that temperatures between 1960 and 2003 decreased slightly during the warm and dry season (March-May).
  • The frequency of cold days and nights (defined as the temperature below which 10% of days or nights are recorded in the current climate of that region or season) per year has decreased significantly, by 5% and 8%, respectively.

Precipitation

  • Mean rainfall has significantly decreased on an average of 3.7 mm (-3.2%) per month per decade, and this decrease is particularly significant during the monsoon period between June-September. 

This section provides the options to visualize historical climate data for different timeframes via map and annual cycle chart.

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Click on map to change chart data from country aggregated to site-specific data.