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Main article: "Tropical rainforest climate

All 12 months have average precipitation of at least 60 mm (2.4 in). These climates usually occur within 10° latitude of the "equator. This climate is dominated by the "doldrums low-pressure system all year round, so has no natural seasons in terms of thermal and moisture changes.

Some of the places with this climate are indeed uniformly and monotonously wet throughout the year (e.g., the northwest "Pacific coast of "South and "Central America, from "Ecuador to "Costa Rica; see, for instance, "Andagoya, "Colombia), but in many cases, the period of higher sun and longer days is distinctly wettest (as at "Palembang, "Indonesia) or the time of lower sun and shorter days may have more rain (as at "Sitiawan, "Malaysia).

(Note. The term "aseasonal refers to the lack in the tropical zone of large differences in daylight hours and mean monthly (or daily) temperature throughout the year. Annual cyclic changes occur in the tropics, but not as predictably as those in the temperate zone, albeit unrelated to temperature, but to water availability whether as rain, mist, soil, or ground water. Plant response (e. g., "phenology), animal (feeding, migration, reproduction, etc.), and human activities (plant sowing, harvesting, hunting, fishing, etc.) are tuned to this 'seasonality'. Indeed, in tropical South America and Central America, the 'rainy season' (and the 'high water season') is called "invierno or inverno, though it could occur in the Northern Hemisphere summer; likewise, the 'dry season' (and 'low water season') is called "verano or verão, and can occur in the Northern Hemisphere winter).

Tropical monsoon climate[edit]

Tropical monsoon climate

This type of climate, most common in "South Asia, results from the "monsoon winds which change direction according to the seasons. This climate has a driest month (which nearly always occurs at or soon after the "winter" solstice for that side of the equator) with rainfall less than 60 mm, but more than 1/25 the total annual precipitation.[8]:208

Tropical wet and dry or savanna climate[edit]

Tropical savanna climate

Aw climates have a pronounced dry season, with the driest month having precipitation less than 60 mm and less than 1/25 of the total annual precipitation.:208–11[8]

Most places that have this climate are found at the outer margins of the "tropical zone from the low teens to the mid-20s latitudes, but occasionally an inner-tropical location (e.g., "San Marcos, Antioquia, "Colombia) also qualifies. Actually, the "Caribbean coast, eastward from the "Gulf of Urabá on the "Colombia–"Panamá border to the "Orinoco River delta, on the "Atlantic Ocean (about 4,000 km), have long dry periods (the extreme is the BSh climate (see below), characterised by very low, unreliable precipitation, present, for instance, in extensive areas in the Guajira, and "Coro, western "Venezuela, the northernmost peninsulas in South America, which receive <300 mm total annual precipitation, practically all in two or three months).

This condition extends to the "Lesser Antilles and "Greater Antilles forming the circum-Caribbean dry belt. The length and severity of the dry season diminishes inland (southward); at the latitude of the Amazon River—which flows eastward, just south of the "equatorial line—the climate is Af. East from the "Andes, between the dry, arid Caribbean and the ever-wet Amazon are the Orinoco River's "llanos or "savannas, from where this climate takes its name.

Sometimes As is used in place of Aw if the dry season occurs during the time of higher sun and longer days. This is the case in parts of "Hawaii, northwestern Dominican Republic ("Monte Cristi, "Villa Vásquez, "Luperón), East Africa ("Mombasa, Kenya), "Sri Lanka ("Trincomalee), and Brazilian Northeastern Coast ("Recife, "João Pessoa and "Natal), for instance. In most places that have tropical wet and dry climates, however, the dry season occurs during the time of lower sun and shorter days because of "rain shadow effects during the 'high-sun' part of the year.

Group B: Dry (arid and semiarid) climates[edit]

Desert climate and "Semi-arid climate

These climates are characterized by actual precipitation less than a threshold value set equal to the "potential evapotranspiration.[8]:212 The threshold value (in millimeters) is determined as:

Multiply the average annual temperature in °C by 20, then add (a) 280 if 70% or more of the total precipitation is in the high-sun half of the year (April through September in the Northern Hemisphere, or October through March in the Southern), or (b) 140 if 30%–70% of the total precipitation is received during the applicable period, or (c) 0 if less than 30% of the total precipitation is so received.

According to the modified Köppen classification system used by modern climatologists, total precipitation in the warmest six months of the year is taken as reference instead of the total precipitation in the high-sun half of the year.[10]

If the annual precipitation is less than 50% of this threshold, the classification is BW (arid: "desert climate); if it is in the range of 50%–100% of the threshold, the classification is BS (semi-arid: "steppe climate).

A third letter can be included to indicate temperature. Originally, h signified low-latitude climate (average annual temperature above 18 °C) while k signified middle-latitude climate (average annual temperature below 18 °C), but the more common practice today, especially in the "United States, is to use h to mean the coldest month has an average temperature above 0 °C (32 °F), with k denoting that at least one month averages below 0 °C.

Desert areas situated along the west coasts of continents at tropical or near-tropical locations are characterized by cooler temperatures than encountered elsewhere at comparable latitudes (due to the nearby presence of cold ocean currents) and frequent fog and low clouds, despite the fact that these places rank among the driest on earth in terms of actual precipitation received. This climate is sometimes labelled BWn. The BSn category can be found in foggy coastal steppes.

On occasion, a fourth letter is added to indicate if either the winter or summer half of the year is "wetter" than the other half. To qualify, the wettest month must have at least 60 mm (2.4 in) of average precipitation if all 12 months are above 18 °C (64 °F), or 30 mm (1.2 in) if not; plus at least 70% of the total precipitation must be in the same half of the year as the wettest month — but the letter used indicates when the 'dry' season occurs, not the 'wet' one. This would result in "Khartoum, Sudan, being reckoned as BWhw; "Niamey, Niger, as BShw; "Alexandria, Egypt, as BWhs; "Asbi'ah, Libya, as BShs; "Ömnögovi Province, Mongolia, as BWkw; and "Xining, "Qinghai, China, as BSkw (BWks and BSks do not exist if 0 °C in the coldest month is recognized as the h/k boundary.["citation needed]) If the standards for neither w nor s are met, no fourth letter is added.

Group C: Temperate/mesothermal climates[edit]

Temperate climate

In the Koppen climate system, temperate climates are defined as having an average temperature above -3 C (26.6 F) (or 0 °C in some versions, as noted previously) in their coldest month but below 18 C (64.4 F). The average temperature of -3 C roughly coincides with the equatorward limit of frozen ground and snowcover lasting for a month or more.

The second letter indicates the precipitation pattern—w indicates dry winters (driest winter month average precipitation less than one-tenth wettest summer month average precipitation. s indicates at least three times as much rain in the wettest month of winter as in the driest month of summer. f means significant precipitation in all seasons (neither above-mentioned set of conditions fulfilled).[1]

The third letter indicates the degree of summer heat—a indicates warmest month average temperature above 22 °C (72 °F) while b indicates warmest month averaging below 22 °C.

Mediterranean climates[edit]

Mediterranean climate

These climates usually occur on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of "30° and "45°.[11] These climates are in the polar front region in winter, and thus have moderate temperatures and changeable, rainy weather. Summers are hot and dry, due to the domination of the subtropical high pressure systems, except in the immediate coastal areas, where summers are milder due to the nearby presence of cold ocean currents that may bring "fog but prevent rain.[8]:221–3

Humid subtropical climates[edit]

Humid subtropical climate

These climates usually occur on the eastern coasts and eastern sides of continents, usually in the high 20s and 30s latitudes. Unlike the dry summer Mediterranean climates, humid subtropical climates have a warm and wet flow from the tropics that creates warm and moist conditions in the summer months. As such, summer (not winter as is the case in Mediterranean climates) is often the wettest season.

The flow out of the subtropical highs and the summer monsoon creates a southerly flow from the tropics that brings warm and moist air to the lower east sides of continents. This flow is often what brings the frequent but short-lived summer thundershowers so typical of the more southerly subtropical climates like the far southern United States, southern China and Japan.[8]:223–6

Oceanic climate[edit]

Oceanic climate

Cfb climates usually occur in the higher middle latitudes on the western sides of continents between the latitudes of 40° and "60°; they are typically situated immediately poleward of the Mediterranean climates, although in Australia and extreme southern Africa this climate is found immediately poleward of temperate climates, and at a somewhat lower latitude. In western Europe, this climate occurs in coastal areas up to "63°N in Norway.

These climates are dominated all year round by the polar front, leading to changeable, often overcast weather. Summers are cool due to cool ocean currents, but winters are milder than other climates in similar latitudes, but usually very cloudy. Cfb climates are also encountered at high elevations in certain subtropical and tropical areas, where the climate would be that of a subtropical/tropical rain forest if not for the altitude. These climates are called "highlands".[8]:226–9

Highland climates[edit]

Dry-winter highland climate (Cwb) is a type of climate mainly found in highlands inside the tropics of "Mexico, "Peru, "Bolivia, "Madagascar, "Zambia, "Zimbabwe and "South Africa, but it is also found in east-central "Spain[12] or central Argentina and areas outside of the tropics (such as in the subtropics). Winters are noticeable and dry, and summers can be very rainy. In the tropics, the rainy season is provoked by the tropical air masses and the dry winters by subtropical high pressure.

Group D: Continental/microthermal climates[edit]

Continental climate
The snowy city of "Sapporo

These climates have an average temperature above 10 °C (50 °F) in their warmest months, and a coldest month average below −3 °C (or 0 °C in some versions, as noted previously). These usually occur in the interiors of continents and on their upper east coasts, normally north of 40°N. In the Southern Hemisphere, group D climates are extremely rare due to the smaller land masses in the middle latitudes and the almost complete absence of land at 40–60°S, existing only in some highland locations.

Hot summer continental climates[edit]

Hot-summer humid continental climate

Dfa climates usually occur in the high 30s and low 40s latitudes, with a qualifying average temperature in the warmest month of >22 °C/72 °F. In Europe, these climates tend to be much drier than in North America. In eastern Asia, Dwa climates extend further south due to the influence of the Siberian high pressure system, which also causes winters there to be dry, and summers can be very wet because of "monsoon circulation. Dsa exists at higher elevations adjacent to areas with hot summer Mediterranean (Csa) climates.[8]:231–2

Dsa exists only at higher elevations adjacent to areas with hot summer Mediterranean (Csa) climates.

Warm summer continental or hemiboreal climates[edit]

Warm-summer humid continental climate

Dfb and Dwb climates are immediately poleward of hot summer continental climates, generally in the high 40s and low 50s latitudes in North America and Asia, and also extending to higher latitudes in central and eastern Europe and "Russia, between the maritime temperate and continental subarctic climates, where it extends up to 65 degrees latitude in places.[8]

Subarctic or boreal climates[edit]

Subarctic climate

Dfc and Dwc climates occur poleward of the other group D climates, generally in the 50s and low 60s North latitudes. In some places, it extends northward to beyond 70°N latitude.[8]:232–5

Group E: Polar Climates[edit]

In the Koppen climate system, Polar climates are defined as the warmest temperature of any month is below 10 C (50 F). Polar climates are further divided into two types, Tundra climates and Icecap Climates:

These climates are a colder and more continental variants of tundra. They would have characteristics of the ice cap climate, but still manage to see temperatures above 0 °C (32 °F):

"Ice cap climate (EF): This climate is dominant in Antarctica and inner Greenland, but also occurs at extremely high altitudes on mountains, above even tundra. Temperatures never exceed 0 °C (32 °F).

Occasionally, a third, lower-case letter is added to ET climates (distinguishing between ETf, ETs, and ETw), if either the summer or winter is clearly drier than the other half of the year. When the option to include this letter is exercised, the same standards that are used for Groups C and D apply, with the additional requirement that the wettest month must have an average of at least 30 mm precipitation (Group E climates can be as dry or even drier than Group B climates based on actual precipitation received, but their rate of evaporation is much lower). Seasonal precipitation letters are almost never attached to EF climates, mainly due to the difficulty in distinguishing between falling and blowing snow, as snow is the sole source of moisture in these climates.

Ecological significance[edit]

The Köppen climate classification is based on the empirical relationship between climate and vegetation. This classification provides an efficient way to describe climatic conditions defined by temperature and precipitation and their seasonality with a single metric. Because climatic conditions identified by the Köppen classification are ecologically relevant, it has been widely used to map geographic distribution of long term climate and associated ecosystem conditions.[13]

Over the recent years, there has been an increasing interest in using the classification to identify changes in climate and potential changes in vegetation over time.[14] The most important ecological significance of the Köppen climate classification is that it helps to predict the dominant vegetation type based on the climatic data and vice versa.[15]

In 2015, a pair of Chinese scholars published analysis of climate classifications between 1950 and 2010, finding that more than 5% of all land area worldwide had moved from wetter and colder classifications to drier and hotter classifications.[16]

Trewartha climate classification scheme[edit]

Trewartha climate classification

The Trewartha climate classification is a climate classification system published by American geographer Glenn Thomas Trewartha in 1966, and updated in 1980. It is a modified version of the 1899 Köppen system, created to answer some of the deficiencies of the Köppen system. The Trewartha system attempts to redefine the middle latitudes to be closer to vegetation zoning and genetic climate systems. It was considered a more true or "real world" reflection of the global climate.["citation needed]

For example, under the standard Köppen system, in the "United States, western "Washington and "Oregon are classed into the same climate zone as "southern California, even though the two regions have strikingly different weather and vegetation. Under the old Köppen system cool oceanic climates like that of "London or "Seattle were classed in the same zone as hot subtropical cities like "Savannah, GA or "Brisbane, Australia. In the United States, locations in the Midwest like "Colorado and "Iowa which have long, severe winter climates where plants are completely dormant, were classed into the same climate zone as "Louisiana or northern "Florida which have mild winters and a green winter landscape.

Other maps[edit]

All maps use the ≥0 °C definition for temperate climates and the 18 °C annual mean temperature threshold to distinguish between hot and cold dry climates.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Peel, M. C.; Finlayson, B. L.; McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification". Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11: 1633–1644. "doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007. "ISSN 1027-5606.  (direct: Final Revised Paper)
  2. ^ Köppen, Wladimir (1884). Translated by Volken, E.; Brönnimann, S. "Die Wärmezonen der Erde, nach der Dauer der heissen, gemässigten und kalten Zeit und nach der Wirkung der Wärme auf die organische Welt betrachtet" [The thermal zones of the earth according to the duration of hot, moderate and cold periods and to the impact of heat on the organic world)]. Meteorologische Zeitschrift (published 2011). 20 (3): 351–360 – via 
  3. ^ Rubel, F.; Kottek, M (2011). "Comments on: 'The thermal zones of the Earth' by Wladimir Köppen (1884)". Meteorologische Zeitschrift. 20 (3): 361–365. 
  4. ^ Köppen, Wladimir (1918). "Klassification der Klimate nach Temperatur, Niederschlag and Jahreslauf". Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen. 64. pp. 193–203, 243–248 – via 
  5. ^ Köppen, Wladimir (1936). "C". In Köppen, Wladimir; Geiger (publisher), Rudolf. Das geographische System der Klimate [The geographic system of climates] (PDF). Handbuch der Klimatologie. 1. Berlin: Borntraeger. 
  6. ^ Geiger, Rudolf (1954). "Klassifikation der Klimate nach W. Köppen" [Classification of climates after W. Köppen]. Landolt-Börnstein – Zahlenwerte und Funktionen aus Physik, Chemie, Astronomie, Geophysik und Technik, alte Serie. Berlin: Springer. 3. pp. 603–607. 
  7. ^ Geiger, Rudolf (1961). Überarbeitete Neuausgabe von Geiger, R.: Köppen-Geiger / Klima der Erde.  (Wandkarte 1:16 Mill.) – Klett-Perthes, Gotha.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l McKnight, Tom L; Hess, Darrel (2000). "Climate Zones and Types". Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. "ISBN "0-13-020263-0. 
  9. ^ Linacre, Edward; Bart Geerts (1997). Climates and Weather Explained. London: Routledge. p. 379. "ISBN "0-415-12519-7. 
  10. ^ Critchfield, H.J. (1983). "Criteria for classification of major climatic types in modified Köppen system" (4 ed.). University of Idaho. 
  11. ^ "Mediterranean Climate". California Rangelands. California Ragelands. Retrieved 2015-01-26. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Chen, D.; Chen, H. W. (2013). "Using the Köppen classification to quantify climate variation and change: An example for 1901–2010". Environmental Development. 6: 69–79. "doi:10.1016/j.envdev.2013.03.007.  (direct: Final Revised Paper)
  14. ^
  15. ^ Critchfield, Howard J (1983). General Climatology (4th ed.). New Delhi: Prentice Hall. pp. 154–161. "ISBN "978-81-203-0476-5. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]

Climate records[edit]

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