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This paper presents temporal and spatial pattern of drought phenomena in central Nepal using standardized precipitation index (SPI) at multiple time scales. The study is based on 32 years of monthly precipitation data from 40 meteorological stations from 1981 to 2012. Results indicate that, while there is no distinct trend in regional precipitation, interannual variation is large. Trend analysis of drought index shows that most stations are characterized by increases in both severity and frequency of drought and trend is stronger for longer drought time scales. Over the study period, the summer season of 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009 and winters 2006, 2008 and 2009 were the worst widespread droughts. These dry periods have a serious impact on agriculture–livestock production of central Nepal. Better understanding of these SPI dynamics could help in understanding the characteristics of droughts and also to develop effective mitigation strategies.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.