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Title: What Caused the Winter Drought in Western Nepal during Recent Years?

Western Nepal has experienced consecutive and worsened winter drought conditions since 2000 culminating in a severe drought episode during 2008-2009. In this study, the meteorological conditons and a historical pespective of the winter droughts in western Nepal were analyzed using respectively instumental records and a paleoclimatic drought index. Althought decadal-scale drought conditions were found to be recurrent in the paleoclimate record, the severity of the recent decadal drought (since 2000) clearly stands out in the 700 years of record and, this is suggestive of potential anthropogenic influences in the recent decades. Meteorological diagnosis using atmospheric reanalysis in the recent decades revealed that (1) winter drought in western Nepal is linked to the Arctic Oscillation and its decadal variability, which initiates a tropospheric short-wave train across the Europe, Eurasia and South Asia, and that (2) the persistent warming of the Indian Ocean likely contributes to the suppression of rainfall through enhanced local Hadley circultion. It is therefore conceivable that the recent spells of decadal drought in Nepal drought are symptomatic of both natural variability and anthropogenic influences.
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  1. (Simon)
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Climate, 26(21):8241-8256
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
winter; drought; western; Nepal; recent; years