This small, landlocked, mountainous country lies on the southern side of the Himalayan Mountains between Tibet (an autonomous region of China) to the north, and India to the west, south, and east. It includes within, or along its northern border, some of the highest mountains in the world; Everest rises to 8,848 m/29,028 ft. The country is only between 160 km/100 mi and 240 km/150 mi wide from north to south, and in this distance the altitude decreases from the high Himalayan peaks to the lowlands of the Terai region of northern India. There is thus in Nepal a range of climatic conditions from tropical forest or jungle to the permanent snowfields and glaciers of the Himalayas.
The weather and climate are controlled by the same general features as those described for India: the seasonal alternation of the monsoon winds. The main rainy season in Nepal is from late June to September. This is a period of warm to hot temperatures, much cloud, and frequent heavy rain. At this time sunshine averages only two to three hours a day. During the rest of the year the weather is much more settled and pleasant. The days are mild or even warm, except on the higher mountains, and sunshine averages from six to nine hours a day.
The table for Kathmandu illustrates conditions in the valleys and in the Himalayan foothill region where the majority of the population live. Rainfall in Nepal decreases from east to west so that the tables for Darjeeling and Shimla in India are representative of the east and west of the country respectively. They also indicate better than the table for Kathmandu the likely temperature conditions in the more highly populated regions of Nepal.
Apart from some danger of flooding during the heaviest rains, the climate of Nepal is rarely hazardous and for much of the year is very pleasant.
© Copyright RM, 2007. All rights reserved. Helicon Publishing is a division of RM.