Koeppen’s Climate Classification
The climatic classification by Koeppen is the most widely used. It is based on temperature, precipitation, and seasonal characteristics. The relationship of climate with vegetation is also included with it. The world has been divided into five climatic groups according to this scheme. Four of them are temperature-based, and one is precipitation-based. A capital letter represents each type:
- A – Tropical Moist Climates: Average temperatures in all months exceed 18° Celsius.
- B – Dry Climates: with deficient precipitation during most of the year.
- C – Moist Mid-latitude Climates with Mild Winters.
- D – Moist Mid-Latitude Climates with Cold Winters.
- E – Polar Climates: extremely cold winters and summers.
The seasons of dryness are indicated by the small letters: f, m, w, and s.
- f -No dry season
- m – Monsoon climate
- w- Winter dry season
- s – Summer dry season
The small letters a, b, c, and d refer to the degree of severity of temperature.
Read More: Climatology
Koeppen Climate Classification Types
Here is a complete Koeppen’s Climate Classification given below:
Tropical wet and dry
|No dry season
Monsoonal, short dry season
Winter dry season
|B-Dry Climate||Subtropical steppe
|Low-latitude semi-arid or dry
Low-latitude arid or dry
Mid-latitude semi-arid or dry
Mid-latitude arid or dry
temperate(Mid Latitude) Climates
Marine west coast
|No dry season, warm summer
Dry hot summer
No dry season, warm and cool summer
|D-Cold Snow forest
|No dry season, severe winter
Winter dry and very severe.
Polar ice cap
|No true summer
|H-Highland||Highland||H||Highland with snow cover|
Read More: Equatorial Climate Region
Koeppen’s Climate Classification Map
The Köppen climate classification categorises climates into five major groups, with each group subdivided based on seasonal precipitation and temperature patterns. A (tropical), B (arid), C (temperate), D (continental), and E are the five major groups (polar). A letter represents each group and subgroup.
Read More: Tropical Climate
Group A: Tropical Humid Climates
Tropical humid climates can be found between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The sun shines vertically in this region all year.The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is also present, making the climate of the region hot and humid. This region witnesses a low range of annual temperature and high annual rainfall. Tropical climates are classified into three types:(i) Af- Tropical wet climate; (ii) Am- Tropical monsoon climate; and (iii) Aw- Tropical wet and dry climate.
1. Tropical Wet Climate (Af)
Near the equator, the tropical wet climate prevails. The Amazon Basin in South America, western equatorial Africa, and the islands of the East Indies are the major areas. The annual rainfall distribution is nearly uniform. The temperature is uniformly high, with a negligible annual temperature range. The nature of rainfall here is convectional and occurs on a daily basis in the afternoon. This region is characterized by the presence of tropical evergreen forests with a dense canopy and high biodiversity.
2. Tropical Monsoon Climate (Am)
This climatic region witnessed the reversal of prevailing winds. Tropical monsoon-like conditions are found over the Indian Sub-continent, Northern Australia, and North-Eastern South America.
This region receives rainfall in summer while winter is mostly dry.
3. Tropical Wet and Dry Climate (Aw)
Tropical wet and dry climate occurs north and south of Tropical wet-type climate (Af) regions. Aw climate is found to the north and south of the Amazon forest in Brazil, as well as adjacent parts of Bolivia and Paraguay in South America, Sudan, and south of Central Africa. The annual rainfall in this climate is significantly lower than in the Af and Am climate types, and it is also variable. The region witnessed a longer dry season and a shorter wet season with the drought being more severe.
The region experiences high temperatures all year, with the diurnal temperature range being greatest during the dry season. This climatic region is characterized by deciduous forests and tree-shaded grasslands.
Read More: Precipitation
Group B: Dry Climate
In this climatic region, rainfall is not enough to support the growth of plants. These climatic regions are extended over a vast area of the planet, i.e., from 15° – 60° north and south of the equator.
In the middle latitudes, between 35° and 60° north and south of the equator, they are confined to the interiors of continents where maritime-humid winds do not reach and are frequently surrounded by mountains.
Subtropical Steppe (BSh) and Subtropical Desert (BWh) Climates
Both types of climate have common temperature and precipitation characteristics. The subtropical steppe is situated in the transition zone of the humid and dry climate and receives little more rainfall than the desert, which supports the growth of sparse grasslands. The rainfall in these climatic regions is highly variable, and the variability in rainfall often causes famine in steppe regions. Fog is common in coastal deserts where cold currents meet. These climatic regions are classified as middle latitude cold steppe climate (BSk), and middle latitude cold desert (BWk).
Read More: Anticyclones
Group C: Warm Temperate Climates
Warm temperate (mid-latitude) climates extend from 30° – 50° of latitude, mainly in the eastern and western margins of continents.
1. Humid Subtropical Climate (Cwa)
It is found poleward from the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, mainly in North Indian plains and South China interior plains. The climate is similar to a Tropical wet and dry climate, except that the temperature in winter is warm.
2. Mediterranean Climate (Cs)
Mediterranean climate occurs around the Mediterranean sea, along with the west coast of continents in subtropical latitudes between 30° – 40° latitudes. e.g. — Central California, Central Chile, along the coast of southeastern and southwestern Australia. Here, the climate is characterized by hot, dry summer and mild, rainy winter.
3. Humid Subtropical Climate (Cfa)
The humid subtropical climate lies on the eastern parts of the continent in subtropical latitudes. Frontal rainfall occurs due to unstable air masses. They occur in the eastern United States of America, southern and eastern China, southern Japan, northeastern Argentina, coastal South Africa, and the eastern coast of Australia.
4. Marine West Coast Climate (Cfb)
The west coast climate of the continents is located poleward from the Mediterranean climate. The temperature is comparatively warmer in these regions due to the moderating effects of the sea. The main areas of Cfb are coastal regions of North America, north of California, Southern Chile, Southern Australia, and New Zealand. The average temperature in summer is 15°-20°C, and in winter average temperature is 4°-10℃. Precipitation varies from 50-250cm.
Read More: Steppe Climate
Group D- Cold Climate with Dry Winters (Dw)
Occurs mainly over Northeastern Asia. Monsoon-like reversal of wind occurs in this region, i.e., anticyclonic conditions develop in winter and weaken during summer. The annual precipitation is around 12-15cm.
Read More: Desert Climate
Group E: Polar Climates
It exists from 70° latitudes toward the pole. A polar climate consists of cool summers, and very cold winters, which results in treeless tundra, glaciers, or a permanent or semi-permanent layer of ice.
1. Tundra Climate (ET)
Tundras are one of the coldest, and harshest biomes in the world. Tundras are found in the Arctic region and on top of mountains. These are treeless biomes characterized by high wind speed and scanty rainfall. Here the soil is frozen permanently and is known as the permafrost region.
2. Ice Cap Climate (EF)
Here temperature does not exceed 0℃, even in summer. This area receives very little rainfall. This climatic region occurs over the interior of Greenland and Antarctica.
3. Highland Climates (H)
This climate is found in high mountain areas. It is found on single mountains such as Mount Kilimanjaro and on large areas of high elevation such as the Plateau of Tibet. Large changes in mean temperature occur over short distances in high mountains. Precipitation types and intensity also vary spatially.
Read More: Savanna Climate
Koeppen’s Climate Classification UPSC
The Köppen climate classification system classifies climate zones around the world based on local vegetation. Wladimir Köppen, a German botanist and climatologist, created this system at the end of the nineteenth century, basing it on earlier biome research. This article discusses Koeppen’s Climate Classification System. Geography is an important aspect of the IAS exam.
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