Aside from the Thornthwaite Climate Classification system which was reported upon a couple months ago (go here to read that article), the classification system that came before Thornthwaite’s time is the Koppen Climate Classification. The classification was first published by Russian climatologist Vladimir Koppen in 1884. Although it was published in 1884, it wasn’t completed until 1936 after several modifications by Koppen. To add several more modifications, climatologist Rudolf Geiger introduced several other changes that were needed. The two climatologists and their work is what gives this classification system the name of Koppen-Geiger climate classification. But, for the sake of title and to give credit to the creator, it is commonly known as the Koppen climate classification.
Koppen’s aim was to devise formulas that would define climatic boundaries in a way that would correspond to vegetation zones, known as biomes, which were being mapped out during his time. The system divides climates into five main climate groups, with each group being divided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. These groups are represented by capital letters A, B, C, D and E. All of which, except for B, are defined by temperature criteria. Type B looks more at the amount of precipitation or dryness rather than temperature. The climate designations are as follows: tropical, A; dry/arid, B; temperate, C; continental, D; and polar, E.”
Along with the capital letters to represent the type of climate, Koppen wanted more specific factors to truly identify the climate of a given area. With this in mind, he designated numerous other letters to represent the other features that a climate could have:
As shown in the table above, the lower case letters represent the kind of climate an area possesses. The overall differentiation is based upon temperature with precipitation dividing the classification further. Koppen wanted to show how climates are split up based upon vegetation and the precipitation they receive. He created just that, but with more concentration on temperature and precipitation. This differs from the Thornthwaite Classification System by relying upon the temperature and precipitation of the area. Thornthwaite, who grew up as a farmer and was educated in botany, expanded his system to the characteristics of the area; such as the vegetation type. Thornthwaite measured the precipitation and evaporation of the climate to classify it. To learn more about the Thornthwaite system refer to the link which was provided earlier in this article.
The Koppen classification system was the first of its kind that measured both temperature and precipitation and how they both effect the climate of a given area. Koppen’s system is still heavily used to this day and helps climatologists, along with other scientists, determine how to classify the climate of region.
To learn more about other interesting stories related to global climate issues, be sure to click on the following link: www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/climate
©2019 Weather Forecaster Alec Kownacki