Current Climate

Climatology

This page presents Nepal's climate context for the current climatology, 1991-2020, derived from observed, historical data. Information should be used to build a strong understanding of current climate conditions in order to appreciate future climate scenarios and projected change. You can visualize data for the current climatology through spatial variation, the seasonal cycle, or as a time series. Analysis is available for both annual and seasonal data. Data presentation defaults to national-scale aggregation, however sub-national data aggregations can be accessed by clicking within a country, on a sub-national unit.  Other historical climatologies can be selected from the Time Period dropdown list. Data for  specific coordinates can be downloaded for in the Data Download page.

Observed, historical data is produced by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of University of East Anglia. Data is presented at a 0.5º x 0.5º (50km x 50km) resolution.

Nepal’s climate varies considerably both seasonally and according to altitude. Nepal can be divided into different climate zones according to altitude, ranging from the Terai region in the south at less than 500 m above sea level to the High Himalayan region in the north at over 5,000 m. Average temperatures decline from a peak of over 24°C in the south down to sub-zero temperatures in Nepal’s highest mountains. Precipitation is spatially variable with some central and northerly pockets of the country receiving more than 3,000 millimeters (mm), the central and southern plains typically receiving 1,500 – 2,000 mm, and some high-altitude areas in the north receiving less than 1,000 mm.

Temperature

  • Historical warming in Nepal is estimated at between 1.0°C – 1.3°C and studies focusing on the Himalayan region experiencing higher rates of warming, with average temperatures increasing by 1.5°C between 1982 – 2006.
  • Nepal’s warming is complex, and not homogenous across Nepal’s surface area, nor defined consistently by altitude. 

Precipitation

  • Annual precipitation rates in Nepal vary spatially and include both positive and negative movements.
  • Some regions (notably western Nepal) are believed to have experienced an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events.
  • Evidence suggests that wet areas are becoming wetter, and dry areas are becoming drier. The Himalayan region has experienced increasing average annual precipitation at a rate of 6.5 mm/year between 1982 – 2006.
  • Other factors affecting inter-annual precipitation variability include global climate phenomena such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole. ENSO has been shown to have complex relationships with both drought and extreme precipitation.