Köppen Climate Classification System

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The Great climates of the earth

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.

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.

Tropical climates (A)

Tropical Moist Climates (Af): Rainforest


Wet-Dry Tropical Climates (Aw): Savanna

Arid and semi-arid climates (B)

Dry Tropical Climate (BW): Desert biome


Semi-arid Climates (BS): Steppe


Temperate climates (C)

Mediterranean climate (Csa and Csb)

Oceanic climate (Cfb)

British Isles, Benelux, Western France, most of Germany, New Zealand (except for high altitude areas)

Humid subtropical climate (Cfa)

Subtropical highland (Cw)

High-altitude parts of East Africa and Southern Africa

Continental climate (D)

Humid Continental Climate (Dfa and Dfb) biome

Boreal forest Climate (Dfc): Taiga biome

Tundra and polar climates (E)

Tundra Climate (ET): Tundra biome

Polar bears.jpg

Ice cap climate (EF)

Highland Climate (H): Alpine Biome