Projected Drought Conditions over Southern Slope of the Central Himalaya Using CMIP6 Models

Sharma, Shankar; Hamal, Kalpana; Khadka, Nitesh; Subedi, Madan; Hussain, Gulfam; Ehsan, Muhammad Azhar; Saeed, Sajjad; Dawadi, Binod

Nepal is located on the southern slope of the Central Himalayas and has experienced frequent droughts in the past. In this study, we used an ensemble of 13 biased corrected models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) to assess the future drought conditions over Nepal under three shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP126, SSP245, and SSP585) using the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) at annual timescale. The monthly correlation between observed and CMIP6-simulated historical SPEI is 0.23 (p < 0.01), which indicates the CMIP6 model ensemble can simulate the drought characteristics over Nepal. In the future period (2020–2100), the duration and severity of droughts are projected to increase with higher emission scenarios, especially for SSP585. Our results indicate enhanced drought intensity under SSP126, whereas, under SSP245, the drought frequency will be slightly higher. The drought frequency is projected to increase in the early future (2020–2060), decreasing in the late future (2061–2100) under all SSP scenarios. The results further indicate more prolonged and severe droughts in the early future under SSP585 as compared to SSP126 and SSP245. The findings of the present study can help drought mitigation as well as long-term adaptation strategies over Nepal.


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Earth Systems and Environment
Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
March 13, 2024

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