Köppen Climate Classification System

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The Köppen Climate Classification System is the most widely used for classifying the world's climates. Most classification systems used today are based on the one introduced in 1900 by the Russian-German climatologist Wladimir Köppen. Köppen divided the Earth's surface into climatic regions that generally coincided with world patterns of vegetation and soils.

Contents

The Köppen Climate Classification System

The Köppen system recognizes five major climate types based on the annual and monthly averages of temperature and precipitation. Each type is designated by a capital letter.

Further subgroups are designated by a second, lower case letter which distinguish specific seasonal characteristics of temperature and precipitation.

  • f - Moist with adequate precipitation in all months and no dry season. This letter usually accompanies the A, C, and D climates.
  • m - Rainforest climate in spite of short, dry season in monsoon type cycle. This letter only applies to A climates.
  • s - There is a dry season in the summer of the respective hemisphere (high-sun season).
  • w - There is a dry season in the winter of the respective hemisphere (low-sun season).

To further denote variations in climate, a third letter was added to the code.

  • a - Hot summers. These can be found in C and D climates.
  • b - Warm summer. These can also be found in C and D climates.
  • c - Cool, short summers in the C and D climates.
  • d - Very cold winters in the D climate only.
  • h - Dry-hot in B climates only.
  • k - Dry-cold in B climates only.

Three basic climate groups

Three major climate groups show the dominance of special combinations of air-mass source regions.

Group I

Low-latitude Climates:

Tropical Moist Climates (Af): Rainforest

Rainforest

Wet-Dry Tropical Climates (Aw): Savanna

Dry Tropical Climate (BW): Desert biome

Desert

Group II

Mid-latitude Climates:

Dry Midlatitude Climates (BS): Steppe

Steppes

Mediterranean Climate (Cs): Chaparral biome

Dry Midlatitude Climates (Bs): Grasslands biome

Moist Continental Climate (Cf): Deciduous Forest biome

Group III

High-latitude climates:

Boreal forest Climate ( Dfc): Taiga biome

Tundra Climate (E): Tundra biome

Polar bears.jpg

Highland Climate (H): Alpine Biome

Alpine
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