Drought characteristics over Nepal Himalaya and their relationship with climatic indices

Understanding drought characteristics is vital for sustainable societal and ecosystem functioning, especially in ongoing climate change. The study investigates the drought characteristics over the Nepal Himalaya using the standardized precipitation index (SPI) based on monthly precipitation data from 220 ground stations between 1980 and 2016 at seasonal and annual timescales. The results show that occurrences of drought are more frequent after the 2000s, intensifying their severity and duration. The cumulative probabilities of short‐term (SPI3) and long‐term (SPI12) drought during the period 1980–2016 were 17.1% and 23.5%, respectively. The short‐term drought over Nepal occurred with an average duration of 2.8 months and a severity of −4.3, whereas for long‐term drought the duration and severity were 8.6 months and −13.9, respectively. Meanwhile, the seasonal drought shows that the spring and autumn drought events were slightly higher than summer and winter drought. The wavelet power spectrum shows the variability signals of winter, spring and summer drought were 2–8 and 8–16 years; however, the autumn drought index only varied at 2–8 years. The NINO3.4 is the primary controlling mode of variability for summer and annual drought, whereas the dipole moment index (DMI) is used for the autumn drought at an interannual timescale. The decadal variability of summer and annual drought is linked with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, whereas winter and spring drought are linked to the Arctic Oscillation. Furthermore, the study contributes to the understanding of the drought characteristics and its controlling factors of variability over Nepal.

For details: 

Sharma, S., Hamal, K., Khadka, N., Shrestha, D., Aryal, D., & Thakuri, S. (2021). Drought characteristics over Nepal Himalaya and their relationship with climatic indices.  https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/met.1988