Women’s Empowerment at the Frontline of Adaptation

Box 4: Climate change trends in Nepal




Past and current: • Conflicting reports on observed changes

• Increase in temperatures in recent years, with more pronounced warming at higher altitudes • Small, but significant, increase in number of hot nights and significant decline in number of cold days and nights per year • Maximum temperatures increased by 1.8 o C between 1975–2006; higher altitudes show more pronounced warming than lower altitudes (Terai and Siwalik) Future predicted changes: • Future modelled trends (general circulation models) predict more frequent heat waves and less frost • Average temperatures predicted to rise by 0.5–2o C (by 2030), 1.3–3.8o C (by 2060), and by 1.8–5.8o C by 2090 • Current rainfall patterns are more unpredictable than before, with higher annual rainfall • Less rainfall occurs during winter and spring with longer dry periods (droughts) during winter; intense rainfall now occurs during the rainy season and there is increased likelihood of extreme weather events Future predicted changes: • Projected mean total annual precipitation shows no clear trends regarding an increase or decrease, in part because the exact effects of climate change on precipitation in the region are not well understood • There is general agreement that the monsoon will become more variable in coming decades. The summer monsoon (June–August) will become more intense and more variable, with more frequent heavy rainfall events, but with fewer rainy days. • There are approximately 1,444 glacial lakes in the Nepal, of which 21 are categorized as potentially critical in terms of GLOF risk • High rates of glacial melt due to increases in temperature are adding to this threat

Precipitation Past and current:

Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs)

Source: Bartlett et al. 2010; IPCC 2007; Bajracharya et al. 2007; Mool et al. 2011

Recent analyses by ICIMOD found that precipitation is not expected to change much, neither in amount nor timing. However, the number of consecutive wet days will increase. The annual distribution of precipitation remains roughly the same. There is a decreasing chance of rainy days in June, while the chance of rainy days increases slightly in October towards 2031–2050.There are no obvious changes over time to the onset or end of the monsoon, but a slight extension of the monsoon is expected towards the end of 2030. Impacts of Climate Change Climate change, with rising temperatures, melting glaciers and changing precipitation systems, has great impact on Nepal. The Strategic Program for Climate Resilience of Nepal identifies the three most critical climate risks in Nepal as: quantity and quality of water; food security; and ecosystem health. The impact of these climatic changes on the Himalayan environment will have direct impact on people’s livelihood which is highly dependent on agriculture. While many of the dimensions of the impact of climate change in Nepal are quite evident, still many are unknown (also see Helvetas 2009 and Helvetas 2010). Documenting the impact of these changes on the daily life of people, along with their efforts to adapt to these changes, is extremely important in developing efficient mitigation and adaptation strategies. This chapter looks at the impact of climate change in Nepal in relation to water and agriculture.


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