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Open AccessArticle

Climatic Trends in Different Bioclimatic Zones in the Chitwan Annapurna Landscape, Nepal

1
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kritipur, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
2
Department of Plant Resources, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
3
Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, Lalitpur 44600, Nepal
4
IPM-IL Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 23922, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Climate 2020, 8(11), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/cli8110136
Received: 8 October 2020 / Revised: 15 November 2020 / Accepted: 17 November 2020 / Published: 20 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change Impacts at Various Geographical Scales)
The Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) is the central part of the Himalayas and covers all bioclimatic zones with major endemism of flora, unique agro-biodiversity, environmental, cultural and socio-economic importance. Not much is known about temperature and precipitation trends along the different bioclimatic zones nor how changes in these parameters might impact the whole natural process, including biodiversity and ecosystems, in the CHAL. Analysis of daily temperature and precipitation time series data (1970–2019) was carried out in seven bioclimatic zones extending from lowland Terai to the higher Himalayas. The non-parametric Mann-Kendall test was applied to determine the trends, which were quantified by Sen’s slope. Annual and decade interval average temperature, precipitation trends, and lapse rate were analyzed in each bioclimatic zone. In the seven bioclimatic zones, precipitation showed a mixed pattern of decreasing and increasing trends (four bioclimatic zones showed a decreasing and three bioclimatic zones an increasing trend). Precipitation did not show any particular trend at decade intervals but the pattern of rainfall decreases after 2000AD. The average annual temperature at different bioclimatic zones clearly indicates that temperature at higher elevations is increasing significantly more than at lower elevations. In lower tropical bioclimatic zone (LTBZ), upper tropical bioclimatic zone (UTBZ), lower subtropical bioclimatic zone (LSBZ), upper subtropical bioclimatic zone (USBZ), and temperate bioclimatic zone (TBZ), the average temperature increased by 0.022, 0.030, 0.036, 0.042 and 0.051 °C/year, respectively. The decade level temperature scenario revealed that the hottest decade was from 1999–2009 and average decade level increases of temperature at different bioclimatic zones ranges from 0.2 to 0.27 °C /decade. The average temperature and precipitation was found clearly different from one bioclimatic zone to other. This is the first time that bioclimatic zone level precipitation and temperature trends have been analyzed for the CHAL. The rate of additional temperature rise at higher altitudes compared to lower elevations meets the requirements to mitigate climate change in different bioclimatic zones in a different ways. This information would be fundamental to safeguarding vulnerable communities, ecosystem and relevant climate-sensitive sectors from the impact of climate change through formulation of sector-wise climate change adaptation strategies and improving the livelihood of rural communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; lapse rate; precipitation; temperature; trend climate change; lapse rate; precipitation; temperature; trend
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Luitel, D.R.; Jha, P.K.; Siwakoti, M.; Shrestha, M.L.; Munniappan, R. Climatic Trends in Different Bioclimatic Zones in the Chitwan Annapurna Landscape, Nepal. Climate 2020, 8, 136.

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