Climate change is expected to increase temperatures in Nepal by several degrees by 2060, but a new database set up by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) should help this geographically diverse country better prepare for the various climate change impacts.
"The potential applications of this database are manifold: If a farmer has a better idea of how rain patterns are going to change, he can make better decisions about the crops he will plant, while the engineer can make a more informed decision about how to build roads that will last, and the government official can better direct public spending," said senior water resources specialist at ADB Cindy Malvicini.
Information on climate change impacts across the country has, until now, been very general. This was not very useful given that Nepal’s topography ranges from Arctic regions to tropical plains all within a 200-km span from north to south. Frequent earthquakes, landslides and melting glaciers also make it highly vulnerable to climate change.
Under a project called 'Strengthening Capacity for Managing Climate Change and the Environment', ADB has coordinated a more specific set of climate change projections for areas as small as 12-sq-km. The previous climate change data provided projections for wide swathes of up to 100-sq-km.
The new data is more targeted, allowing for more effective climate response plans to be drawn up. Data shows that between 2030 and 2060, the annual mean maximum temperature will increase in most areas of Nepal.
While it will rise only slightly in the central part of the country, it will go up by about three degree Celsius in the northwestern high mountain region. Meanwhile, average annual rainfall will increase slightly across the whole country, but will increase most in the western and northern high mountain regions.
The data was prepared by a team comprising the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Thailand, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research of Norway, the Faculty for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and India’s The Energy and Resources Institute. In Nepal, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology was the focal institute, while Tribhuwan University (TU) was the local technical partner.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members — 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including co-financing totalled $21.7 billion.