Making decisions in the light of uncertainty from global climate models


Models are important in all sciences. They are created to synthesize knowledge and quantify effects through mathematical equations. Global climate models are created based on the fundamental laws of physics, as they attempt to translate natural cycles of the earth into mathematical models that are able to depict a generalized image of future changes. The extent of accuracy of these models, however, are still in question. As global climate models grossly generalize natural cycles and fail to draw connections among the many existing relationships between natural processes, different climate models with different assumptions generate varying results, sometimes these results are even contradictory. Another limitation of climate models is that they are unable to generate reliable results on a small scale. While the use of local meteorological data to create regional climate models is possible, downscaling climate models does not increase the level of accuracy of these depictions. For the case of Nepal, modeling is particularly difficult due to the complex topography of the country, with elevations ranging from 0 – 8000 meters within an extremely small area. Given the inability to model topographical changes in such an area, GCMs generate results with high uncertainty for Nepal.


Figure 1. The uncertainty in designing adaptation responses using climate models





Although climate models are constantly being improved by scientists, including more intricate natural processes, along with increasing levels of computational power, the results that they generate will not provide with a high enough degree of confidence to allow precise adaptation decision-making. As we have seen in the IDS Nepal report, predictions for precipitation change range from -30% to +100% in annual rainfall, and temperature increases range from +2 C to +6 C based on different emissions scenarios. Does this mean that climate models are should not be incorporated into any decision-making processes relating to mitigation and adaptation responses due to its high level of uncertainty? Absolutely not. While small-scale and short-term predictions have high levels of uncertainty, climate models are able to predict a general view of the long-run. Given such uncertainty about the future, the approach of policymakers should not be focused on specific adaptation plans for a specific climate scenario, but more of a risk-prevention approach for a wide range of scenarios that may happen. As the cost of prevention is always lower than the cost of addressing the problem once it has happened, the risk minimization approach will help policymakers design effective generalized mitigation plans that decrease the vulnerability of communities to climate change. These policies or projects should focus on increasing the adaptive capacity of communities, as well as their livelihoods, to make them less insecure in the light of possible shocks induced by climate change. For example, while the degree of sea-level rise is still uncertain, the predictions generated by GCMs have shown that sea levels will rise. Instead of debating on whether the science of these models is sound, policymakers should focus on increasing the resiliency of coastal communities by creating buffer zones between the shore and residential areas. As GCMs predict the general trend that the Indian Monsoon is changing in the future, resulting in more intense rainfall and longer dry spells in certain areas of Nepal, policy design should focus on increasing human security, especially food and water security, of communities susceptible to climate shocks. Thus, climate models should not be taken with a grain of salt, but they can be one of the many tools used to inform policy-makers on designing effective adaptation strategies. Given such uncertainty about the future, a generalized risk-prevention approach, where policies are implemented to increase the adaptability of vulnerable communities for a wide-range of conditions, should be considered.


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Predicting the Future of our Climate


While many uncertainties still linger in regards to the specifics of climate change, some basic facts are definite. The most sure and important fact is that the climate is shifting rapidly, due to anthropogenic causes. As humans continue to burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases, the overall global climate alters. This, in turn, creates environmental issues, such as flooding, droughts, heat waves, and extreme storms. These events will then threaten individual human well being.

Major decisions are needed to be made in order to respond to the threat of climate change and ensure human safety. However, these decisions can be difficult, due to the uncertain nature of exactly how and when the climate is going to change. Many of these uncertainties are mitigated by using general circulation models, or global climate models (GCMs). GCMs use predicted emissions scenarios to make projections of likely temperature, precipitation and other meteorological element changes over time. These projections can then be used to inform analyses regarding needed adaptations and changes. Responses can be tailored based on the predicted amount and nature of the climatic change in the specific area explored.

Using GCMs, we have an idea of how the climate of Nepal will change over the next century. It is certain that the overall temperature will increase by between 2 and 6 degrees celsius. This temperature increase will then result in more extreme hot days and more heat waves throughout the country. While there is are broadly similar projections between models, space, and seasons, the precise change varies based on emissions scenarios (IDS-Nepal 56). Despite the question in exact amount, the certainty behind the increase allows the government to make response decisions to insure safety and security throughout the country. These extreme heat waves will threaten individual health safety, along with agricultural security.

Alterations in precipitation are far less certain than those for temperature increase. According to the report, there are very dissimilar findings between models, regions, and seasons. Some predictions estimate a decrease by 30 percent of annual rainfall, while others found an increase of over 100 percent. It is likely that there will be an increase in rainfall during monsoon seasons, along a greater frequency of heavier rain days throughout the year (IDS-Nepal63).

While GCMs have grown far more accurate over the past several decades, they still have some limitations. Forexample, due to the drastic variations in elevation and climate in Nepal, it is difficult to accurately predict how the climate will change in precise locations throughout the country. Most climate models work at a grid resolution between 150 km and 300 km, but elevation shifts by over 8000 meters in less than 250 km between the Terai and the high mountains (IDS- Nepal 57). Also, future depends heavily on exact amounts of greenhouse gases emitted, which is still uncertain. In addition, it takes months to calculate these models, and a small variation in original inputted data can shift the entire outcome. While these inaccuracies may be frustrating, climate models are still essential for making decisions and showing likely trends for the future, even if there are some variations. GDMs have become an essential tool for defense against probable climate changes, despite their limitations.

Source: IDS-Nepal, PAC and GCAP. Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change in Key Sectors in Nepal. Kathmandu: IDS-Nepal, 2014.

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Preparing for the Unknown


A Nepali mountain farmer at work. Neplal’s agricultural secotr is particularly vulnerable to varying weather patterns caused by climate change.
Photo Credit: Bob Webster.

We have good reason to believe that the climate we have come to know is changing. The IPCC reports that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased” (2013). Human society is facing conditions it has never seen before, and as these changes continue, our ways of life that have worked in the past may no longer hold up. We will need to meet new problems with new solutions.
For some activities, the relationship with the climate is already fragile, and continuing changes threaten to make the situation even more difficult. The agricultural situation in Nepal provides a good example. IDS-Nepal reports that the sector relies heavily on seasonal rainfall, and variations can have heavy impacts. In the past, “floods, droughts and erratic rainfall” have all impacted the industry, and productivity has been closely linked with seasonal weather and climate (6). Too much rain can flood fields; too little prevents crops from growing; rainfall too late in the growing season can damage the harvest. In fact, changing weather cycles are already causing hardship for Nepali farmers (Reck). If climate change completely upends seasonal patterns, farmers may not be able to grow crops using current methods, and they will have to develop new strategies. The sooner people can adapt, the fewer damages they are likely to face, and the same goes for any change we make in response to climate change.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict exactly what conditions we need to prepare for. We can use computer generated climate models to make educated guesses, but they are not accurate or precise enough to inform a highly specialized plan for adaptation.The calculations rely on assumptions about greenhouse gas concentration levels, which may change as countries make or break commitments to reduce emissions. Predictions vary based on which emissions scenario is assumed and which model is used. Even projections of average temperature may contradict one another, and predictions of precipitation vary even more widely (57). Therefore, we cannot say with confidence that any one event will actually happen, and specific preparation for that event would not be very useful. However, these predictions taken together can still shed light on the possible impact of future events, which can inform policy decisions (86). A general idea of the challenges we might face is better than none at all.
By cross checking a variety of models, IDS-Nepal has developed a comprehensive report on the possible regional consequences for Nepal. All of the regional models dependably show a temperature increase (55). Although the models are much less consistent on precipitation, many warn of a rainier monsoon season (63). They also project that floods are likely to become more severe and more frequent (113). The results vary widely by model and by region, creating a lot of uncertainty. However, IDS-Nepal urges that people take these uncertainties into account while still preparing to adapt.Rather than indicating that preparation is hopeless, the wide range of possible changes indicates a need to increase flexibility. By developing multiple adaptation strategies, people can have an array of options to choose from so all is not lost when one falls through. For example, farmers in Nepal might benefit from growing a wide variety of crops that have different growing cycles or thrive in different conditions. Increased use of irrigation would provide more control over how much water their crops receive, so farmers would not have to rely so heavily on natural rain patterns. Government actions might include financing these changes, building infrastructure like dams and levees to keep rising rivers at bay, and setting up relief programs to respond to future disasters. Of course, all of these adaptations would draw on limited resources, and it would be impossible to specifically prepare for every possible scenario. Setting a broad foundation, however, could ease the transition to future adaptations. As models become more accurate and the situation in the real world unfolds, responses can become more targeted. In the meantime, the current models’ predictions provide a good starting point.



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Climate Models: Are They Useful?

Uncertainty Does Not Mean Inaction

Sound decisions can be made about responding to climate change despite significant uncertainties about future climate because high natural variability emerges during the process of modeling Nepal’s climate. It is important to note that Nepal’s climate ranges from subtropical to arctic across the country due to such huge elevation differences across the country. Large variation in local topography and unclear trends in historic annual total rainfall data contribute to this reoccurring and expected level of variability. The need for downscaled regional modeling creates challenges for climate modelers by demanding more precision which general circulation models (or global climate models) lack. Historic data on rainfall patterns do not indicate a clear trend in annual precipitation levels in data from the past 50 years (IDS-Nepal et al. 57).  Monsoon season is just one example of a continuing climate threat to people’s livelihoods calls for immediate risk reduction despite growing uncertainty in how they will change conditions over the long-term. Even when models do not agree on the disruptive behaviors of climate change, natural or cyclical changes in temperature and precipitation remain threats to human security in Nepal because of compounding issues such as widespread poverty and political instability.

A study, by the Integrated Development Society Nepal, consisting of 15 models for monthly rainfall in Kathmandu for the 2040-2060 time period, (at a given emissions level) shows that all of the models agree on increasing rainfall totals in particular months. Compared to the current monthly rainfall totals, all models considered conclude that May, July, and October will have more total monthly rainfall in the future. The July projection shows the greatest potential change in total rainfall ranging anywhere from a 20-45mm increase (IDS-Nepal et al. 59).

Practical Action’s project to create early warning systems demonstrates how rainfall predictions can inform decisions in Nepal. To reduce risk in communities along rivers and in other flood prone areas, Practical Action equips people with the knowledge and the resources to take care of themselves and protect their community against future disasters.

Why Resilience Works

Not only is it less costly to take preventative action, but it is also easier to reduce the risk factors that threaten human security early on rather than intervening later (UNDP 22). A high degree of uncertainty in climate models warrants resilient responses to climate change that will strengthen people’s capacity to cope with a variety of disruptive scenarios. Moreover, resiliency catalyzes community empowerment which build’s people’s capacity to alleviate stress factors within their communities, ultimately helping reduce vulnerabilities from all types of insecurities.

Limitations of Climate Models

One limitation of using climate models for decision-making is that comparing data sets requires matching time periods, levels of data resolutions, and bias corrections. Comparing data sets representing multiple scenarios and model types strengthens analysis and is necessary to account for the range of uncertainty in climate models. Coordinating data collection and preparation procedures for climate modeling requires cooperation at the local, regional, and state levels to ensure that adequate data for downscaled modeling is provided. Increased coordination of precise data collection in Nepal is needed for future studies to cover a wider range of scenarios while capturing large degrees of uncertainty (IDS-Nepal et al. 60-61).

Another limitation of using climate models for decision-making is that monsoons and glaciers add additional layers of uncertainty to future climates. Existing models disagree on potential changes in monsoon season and rainfall at the regional level. Even though an abrupt change in the monsoon could be a tipping point (meaning that it can push the climate system out of balance, causing a larger scale change to the climate system), climate models cannot predict the probability of these large-scale changes. Additionally, temperature increases in Nepal can cause warming which triggers glacial melt water flows. As the amount of ice diminishes, river flows could reduce, but a high degree of uncertainty exists in predicting these changes (IDS-Nepal et al. 66).

Works Cited

IDS-Nepal, PAC and GCAP. Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change in Key Sectors in Nepal. Kathmandu: IDS-Nepal, 2014.

UN Development Programme (UNDP). Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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The Validity of Climate Models in Predicting Climate Change

The increasing political debate on climate change is unnerving. The science behind the linkage between our earth’s changing climate and human impact has been proven for years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has continued to increase their certainty on this cause-effect relationship stating in their fifth assessment report in 2013 that it was “extremely likely human influence had been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th century” (IPCC 2013). Climate models, which replicate qualities of our biosphere and the ecosystems of specific locations to predict how the climate will respond in the future. While these models cannot give us 100% certainty of what will happen to our climate in the future, they can give us a range of possible outcomes.

Upon a simple google search of climate models, websites  on “skeptical science” are some of the most frequent results. This could be due to the politicization of climate change, as right wing conservatives- in the United States- continue to deny climate change as a real threat to our nation. Their propaganda is not based on science but rather skewing facts. Some people attempt to discredit the validity of climate models often due to a misunderstanding in the difference between climate and weather. A snowball in a winter season does not disprove the fact that overall global temperatures have been increasing.

While meteorologists face extreme difficulty predicting how much precipitation is going to fall in a certain area on a certain day, predictions for climate are much more broad. Climate patterns stretch across larger geographic areas and are more consistent over time, without human impact. Another important aspect of climate models, that attests to their validity, is that the systems are run multiple times and then the results are analyzed using the median as the basis for what the expected climate will be. This produces a trend that climate scientists can put some trust in.

Climate models are becoming increasingly useful in informing policy responses to the impacts of climate change, showing what changes in emissions could help decrease temperature increases globally and in location specific climate models. Regional climate models show an increase in warming overall in Nepal, but the models for precipitation show much more variation. A regional analysis of precipitation is much more helpful, especially for the people living in Nepal, who are dependent on monsoon season rains that vary greatly among the five different regions. The data that shows these precipitation changes can help inform farmers and others of what kind of variability they might expect in the long run, but it won’t be able to help them day to day, or likely even month to month.

One limitation of global climate models is that distance they account for, in some instances, is too large to account for extreme variance in geographic features. For instance, the drastic variance in elevation in Nepal gets overlooked in the GCMs as the overall area of Nepal is relatively small. Elevation changes by 8000m within 250km in Nepal, because of this GCMs that explain temperature increases, or changes in rainfall do not accurately represent what will happen to Nepal’s climate (IDS-Nepal 57).

Climate models are important for assessing climate impact as they can urge policy makers to consider the impacts of climate warming. One benefit of these models is the ways in which they are able to alter these systems to show what would happen with increasing emissions or decreasing emissions. Comparing the final models can help demonstrate just how important climate action is.


Goverment of Nepal, and Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment. “Climate Model Data and Projections for Nepal.” Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change in Key Sectors in Nepal, Integrated Development Society- Nepal, 2014, pp. 55–69.

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The Importance of Climate Models

Erik Nielsen

Professor Leary

INTD 250


The Importance of Climate Models

While there are certain uncertainties about the earth’s future climate, I still believe that climate models are very useful for making informed decisions to deal with climate change. To recall what Professor Leary had said during our most recent class,” climate is what you can expect, weather is what you get.” Climate models are simply predictions of weather patterns that we can expect in the coming future given the current trends of greenhouse gas emissions and other similar anthropogenically caused climate factors.

Climate models are postulates that try to anticipate future climactic outcomes. However, often times many climate models are incredibly complex and have to take in mass amounts of data sets which can sometimes lead to errors. While there may be faults involved in these climate models, the overall trends / predictions they make are still quite significant and accurate. Another example from class of an informed conjecture is the statement,” it is hotter during the day than at night.” While I cannot tell you the exact temperature, I can make a knowledgeable inference based on the previous information and trends I am aware of.

Climate models are very similar to this. ‘While we will not know the percent change in rainfall, we can know that there will be a change in the amount of rain.’ Having knowledge of this trend is still very important when it comes to making decisions in regards to adapting to climate change. Additionally, with every new advance in the speed of computers and the efficiency / complexity of technologies, these climate models become more and more sophisticated and precise. Climate models produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are produced roughly a little less than every decade. With each release of a new climate model, the data used and the subsequent models produced have been more robust and accurate with their predictions.

And while there is still uncertainty in the exact future outcomes of the earth’s climate, an overwhelming majority of scientists would agree with the fact that humans are drastically changing the earth’s climate for the worse. “(We) have to recognize that we already have a good scientific understanding of how human-induced environmental changes influence the biophysical environment… Focusing on scientific uncertainty diverts attention away from the factors that generate vulnerability and create human insecurities” (O’Brien 1,2). Using the information from climate models as a foundation to make informed climate decisions will be very necessary in the coming future as climate change worsens. And while we ‘cannot predict the amount it will rain, we know it will.’ So, to ignore climate models due to their partial uncertainties would be misuse of their potential and an injustice towards vulnerable populations around the world. The trends and inclinations produced from climate models are necessary to form the foundation to make the informed decisions that humanity needs to prepare for and adapt to climate change.


Work Cited

O’Brien, Karen. “Are we missing the point? Global environmental change as an issue of human security.” (2006): 1-3.

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Climate Models

One of the key critiques of climate models is that they are incredibly vague. For example the 2100 precipitation change compared to the 1970-1999 baseline in Nepal is modeled to be between -30% and 100%. It is true that no certainty can be gleaned from this result, however when we are presented with a vague result such as this one it does not mean that we should not act. This result essentially means that a range of eventualities could happen in regards to future climate, all we know is that it will be different from present conditions. Not understanding the exact details of future climate is not an excuse for inaction. If actors wait until certainties were reached about every detail of future climate to act it will be too late.
It is important to acknowledge that although climate models may not be able to tell us exactly what the impact of climate change will be on rainfall in Nepal in 100 years there are certain aspects of the climate system that can be forecasted. For example the models have reached a more concrete result in regards to the 2100 temperature change in Nepal. Temperatures will rise between two and six degrees celcius. The difference in temperature rise can be attributed to different emission scenarios. We know that the temperature in Nepal will rise, moreover it will rise at a rate greater than worldwide warming. In multi model projections there are certain areas in which most models agree about the outcomes. These outcomes are not generated by indigestible formulas, but rather by fundamental physics. We know the climate is warming and we know it will continue to warm. The question remains as to how much warming we will experience. Climate models do produce some certainties.
When addressing climate models in Nepal one may consider the work done by the Integrated Development Society Nepal. A study done on agriculture and the impacts of future climate change illuminated food security issues in Nepal. The study acknowledges the uncertainties and limits of their findings, stating that a more comprehensive study of agriculture in Nepal would prove useful. Their findings specifically concerning rice, maize and wheat are informative. Rice makes up 20% of the agricultural GDP in Nepal and 50% of the caloric intake. The study finds that that in the terai and hill regions there will be short term increases in the growing season. The terai will likely experience long term decreases in yields, there are mixed results in the hills. However in the mountains the short and long term yields will likely be increased. Although the results of the study are not completely certain the outcome tells us that there will be significant changes in where crops are grown in the future. This will likely result in land use change and possible migration and livelihood change.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that we can glean from climate models is that the climate is changing in complex ways and there is a large amount of uncertainty about the future of our climate. Action must be taken to address this threat. The focus must be on building resilience to stresses that the climate system may place on civilization. Although a government may not always be able to address a specific threat systems may be built up to respond to a diverse set of threats.

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1768 – Prithvi Narayan Shah unifies Kathmandu Valley (Matthew p. 141)

1950 – Nepalese people and King Tribhuvan overthrow the Ranas, ruling party over Nepal, w/ support from India, lead to “Delhi compromise” (Matthew p. 142)

1950 – Delhi Compromise: King, prime minster and Nepali congress agreed to hold elections (Matthew p. 142)

1962 – Mahendra, son of King Tribhuvan introduced the panchayat system, democracy where Kingrules and is supported by councils (Matthew p. 142)

1996 – Communist Party of Nepal Maoist (CPN-M) launch revolution against the state (Tirosh-Samuelson p. 393)

February 1st, 2005 Coup d’état — King Gyanendra overthrew elected government (Matthew p.139)

2008 Elections held – CPN-M won plurality of the seats (Matthew p. 137)


Panchayat System

One event in Nepali history that influenced many of the modern social injustices is the introduction of the panchayat system by King Mahendra.  Son of King Tribhuvan, Mahendra believed that the king needed more power to “contain the growing tensions in Nepal” (Khadka p. 431).  These tensions included a poor relationship with neighboring country India, of which, the foreign minister of Nepal stated that a new political system was key to an improved relationship (Khadka p.432).  In order to implement his new political system, Mahendra needed the faith and support of the people which he had, as they accepted him as a “benevolent reincarnation” (Khadka p. 432).  Although, in theory, the new system gave people political rights, “the ‘innovative’ panchayat system was basically just an attempt to idealize the concept of a Hindu monarch by combining it with certain features of other political systems” (Khadka p. 432).  King Mahendra used his new political system to gain more power and take away from his people.

Official Portrait of King Mahendra

Official Portrait of King Mahendra

The panchayat system was a four-tiered power system.  On the base was the village assembly.  For this, the adult population of the villages voted for an eleven-member village panchayat.  This assembly took care of the low level political affairs of the villages.  Each village panchayat would send one representative to the district panchayat which formed the zone assembly.  This panchayat acted as a district level governing body.  The next level in the panchayat system was the national panchayat.  For this level, representatives from each district were selected by the zone assembly. The apex of the system was King Mahendra.  Although the basic structure of this system lasted, it was adapted to throughout the years as “the first amendment to the constitution abolished the zonal panchayat” (Khadka p.434).

After implementation of this system, King Mahendra banned all political parties.  The official government statement was as follows, “the official philosophy of the partyless character of the system was to maintain a ‘systematic neutrality’ suited to Nepal’s political geography” (Khadka p.435).  The King justified taking away political freedom by telling people that his system was necessary for international stability.  Thus, the political ideology of the nation was that, as demanded by the king, was that “the king should direct policies of the nation as an absolute ruler” (Khadka p.435).

The effects of the oppressive rule of King Mahendra and his panchayat system are still felt today.  The lack of a political party lead to increased economic instability.  “For some time no concrete political economic objectives were formulated for the system, because it had no fixed political ideology on which these could be based” (Khadka p.434).  This economic stress on society is something that ties the panchayat system to the Dickinson Nepal Mosaic.  Many of the environmental issues that occur in Neal stem for the lack of social equality.  For example, people are pushed to abuse natural resources in times of economic struggle, if it is their only option for revenue or resources.  This struggle is one that occurs everywhere  but, in Nepal, was made worse by the  panchayat system.




Khadka, Narayan. “Crisis in Nepal’s Partyless Panchayat System: The Case for More Democracy.” Pacific Affairs 59, no. 3 (1986).

Matthew & Upreti, 2010, Environmental change and human security in Nepal, pp 137 – 154 in Matthew et al (eds), Global Environmental Change and Human Security.

Tirosh-Samuelson, Hava. Asian Survey 47, no. 3 (2013): 393-414.

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Nepal Risk Timeline and the 2017 Monsoon Season


1996: February: Maoist Rebellion Begins, civil war ensues

2006: November: Civil War ends leaving 20,000 people dead and more displaced.

2008: May: Nepal becomes a republic

2015: 25 April: Earthquake kills thousands of people and causes widespread devastation

2014: November: Nepal and India decide to build huge dam on Arun River in Nepal to help    mitigate energy shortages (this is symbolic of several controversial development projects)

2016: February: Nepal Submits its NDC for the Paris Agreement

2017: June to August: Monsoon Season: rainfall causes historic flooding

While all the events on this timeline are important, I think the damaged caused by this year’s monsoons is going to be particularly devastating for the current population. The monsoon season this year lead to historic flooding in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. The communities in these countries are dependent on the monsoon season to replenish the rivers and a monsoon season with below average rainfall can have disastrous consequences. However, they are facing the opposite problem this year with historic flooding. In Nepal over a hundred people have died and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, causing major threats to their security.

One of the most important long-term impacts of the flooding is the effect on farming because a huge portion of the country depends on agriculture. The floods have washed away huge amounts of farmland which is going to lead to widespread food insecurity, especially for subsistence farmers. The flooding is also leaving people without a source of clean drinking water, which among other things, leads to the spread of disease.

The spread of disease is a huge concern in the countries affected by flooding. Diseases like cholera and typhoid are commonly contracted through consuming contaminated water and outbreaks of malaria are common after floods. Displacement camps are also a concern because disease tends to spread faster when so many people must live so close together.

Many people living in displaced persons camps will have nothing to return to when the floods recede, making them exceedingly vulnerable in the long term. Additionally, landslides triggered by the flooding have destroyed infrastructure in some places, making it difficult for many communities to receive aid. There have also been questions raised about the impact of dams on the flooding and how future projects could impact the monsoon season.

This flooding has had a huge impact on the security of Nepal. The monsoons have washed away people’s belongings and homes as well as their main sources of food. People are left without food, clean water, and shelter, all things that are essential to their security. The loss of farmland is going to be particularly devastating, given the number of people in the country who depend on agriculture.



Gettleman, Jeffrey. “More Than 1,000 Died in South Asia Floods This Summer.” New York Times. 29 August, 2017.

Gharib, Malaka. “Epic Floods Challenge Aid Workers On Opposite Sides of the World.” NPR. 29 August, 2017.

Humanitarian Health Action. “Flooding and communicable diseases fact sheet.” World Health Organization.

No Author. “Millions affected as monsoon floods ravage Nepal, India.” Al Jazeera. 14 August, 2017.



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Relevance of The 2015 Gorkha Earthquake

Nepali Timeline:


1996: Nepali Civil War begins

2001: Prince Dipendra assassinates nine royal family members

2002: King Gyanendra temporarily dissolves government

2008: Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist wins election, Nepal becomes the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

April 2015: Nepal Earthquake


Nepal was devastated by the Gorkha earthquake on April 25th, 2015. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed over 600,000 structures near and around Kathmandu, killed around 9,000 people, and injured thousands of Nepali people’s (Rafferty 2015). In a UN report, an estimated 8 million people were affected by the first earthquake, resulting aftershocks, avalanches, and landslides (Rafferty 2015). With a total population of only 30 million people, having over a quarter of the population having been negatively affected by the earthquake has put a tremendous amount of strain on social, economic, and environmental systems in Nepal.

The 2015 Gorkha earthquake is important to understand due to its impact on Nepali peoples. Firstly, this event has had lasting repercussions on the human security of Nepali peoples. Human security has been defined as,” safety from such chronic threats as hunger, disease and repression and protection from sudden and hurtful disruptions in the patterns of daily life (Johns 1). The 2015 earthquake in Nepal disrupted social systems by destroying Nepalese communities’ livelihoods. Homes and community buildings were lost in the hundreds of thousands, which has also had lasting impacts on an already struggling Nepali population. Around 42% of Nepalese peoples were expected to be below the poverty line before the strike of the 2015 earthquake, thus rendering its aftermath devastating for the already impoverished Nepalese peoples (Mathew and Upreti 141).

Second, natural disasters when paired with climate change can exacerbate their negative effects on people’s. Nepal was ranked 13th on the climate change risk atlas, so when a natural disaster such as the 2015 earthquake hits, an already vulnerable population is put under even greater stress (U.S. AID). Additionally, Nepal has up until very recently had incredibly unstable political systems (Mathew and Upreti 138), which was put under pressure by the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake. Food supplies, access to natural resources, and the overall stability of Nepali communities are expected to decline as the risks of climate change grows greater, so the importance of comprehending the effects of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake on the Nepalese peoples is incredibly important for this course.

Works Cited

Johns, Luke. “A critical evaluation of the concept of human security.” Retrieved August 18 (2014): 2015.

Matthew, Richard A., and Bishnu Raj Upreti. “Environmental Change and Human Security in Nepal.” Global Environmental Change and Human Security (2010): 137-154.

Rafferty, John P. “Nepal Earthquake of 2015.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 24 Apr. 2017.


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