Koppen Climate Classification

Koppen Climate Classification System

Our planet Earth is very diverse in nature. There are regions that are completely distinct in terms of their various features such as geographical conditions, weather, etc. It is due to these distinct geographical conditions that play a major role in the presence of different types of climates that persist all over the world. 


There are various climates in our world, which are what prevail in a specific region for a longer period of time. Now, when we talk about the types of climates, there are majorly two. One is Tropical and another is Temperate. 


Here, you can get to learn about the climate classification which is given by famous Climatologist Koppen. You will get to learn a lot in detail about the climate. There are also some of the many features of the climate types. People can also learn more about the classification of climate through charts, world maps, and tables. 


Koppen Classification of Climate

Wladimir Köppen (1846 – 1940), born in Russia, was a great German Climatologist as well as an amateur botanist. He gave a detailed climate classification and his first-ever classification came in 1918 and continued to refine and modify it. The last modified version of his classification was published in 1936. This classification was done with the usage of different kinds of symbols which represent different meanings and climates. Majorly, the climate classification was done into five major groups along with one more type which was considered a special category.


The five major climate groups are represented by capital letters i.e. A, B, C, D, and E. Among these major groups, only B belongs to the dry type of climate whereas others are humid climate groups. These major groups are further divided into subtypes on the basis of their features like temperature and precipitation or level of dryness or coldness, etc. 


Symbol 'a' means hot summer in which average temperature is above 22°C, 'c' refers to cool summer where the average temperature is below 22°C, 'f' means no dry season, 'w' represents a dry season in winters and 's' represents a dry season in summer, 'g' refers to Ganges' type of temperature of annual march when the hottest month comes before the Solstice as well as the summer rainfall, 'h' means where the annual average temperature is less than 18°C, and 'm' means monsoon. Besides these, Capital 'S' and 'W' are used for the further classification of the dry season in which 'S' means semi-arid regions or steppe whereas 'W' represents arid or desert regions. For further division of polar climate, capital 'T' and 'F' symbols are used. In which 'T' means Tundra and 'F' means Icecap. Besides all these, Capital ‘H’ represents the highlands.


Koppen Climate Map

Here in this world map, you can see the distribution of different types of climate as per Koppen Climate Classification.


(Image will be Uploaded Soon)


The detailed classification of different kinds of climate is mentioned below in the table.


Climate Classification Chart


Code

Group

Description

Precipitation Type

Af

Tropical

Tropical Rainforest 

Rainforest

Am

Tropical

Tropical Monsoon

Monsoon

As

Tropical

Tropical Dry Savannah

Dry, Savannah

Aw

Tropical

Tropical Wet Savannah

Wet, Savannah

BSh

Arid

Hot Semi-Arid – Steppe

Steppe

BSk

Arid

Cold Semi-Arid – Steppe

Steppe

BWh

Arid

Hot desert

Desert

BWk

Arid

Cold desert

Desert

Cfa

Temperate

Humid SubTropical

No dry season

Cfb

Temperate

Temperate Oceanic

No dry season

Cfc

Temperate

Sub Polar Oceanic

No dry season

Csa

Temperate

Hot Summer Mediterranean

Dry summer

Csb

Temperate

Warm Summer Mediterranean

Dry summer

Csc

Temperate

Cool Summer Mediterranean

Dry summer

Cwa

Temperate

Monsoon Humid SubTropical

Dry winter

Cwb

Temperate

Sub Tropical Highland or Temperate oceanic with dry winters

Dry winter

Cwc

Temperate

Cold subtropical highland or subpolar oceanic with dry winters.

Dry winter

Dfa

Cold - Continental

Hot summer humid

No dry season

Dfb

Cold - Continental

Warm Summer humid

No dry season

Dfc

Cold - Continental

Subarctic climate

No dry season

Dfd

Cold - Continental

Extremely cold subarctic

No dry season

Dsa

Cold - Continental

Hot dry summer type continental climate

Dry summer

Dsb

Cold - Continental

Warm dry summer continental type

Dry summer

Dsc

Cold - Continental

Dry summer subarctic type climate

Dry summer

Dwa

Cold - Continental

Dry winter

Dry winter

Dwb

Cold - Continental

Dry winter

Dry winter

Dwc

Cold - Continental

Dry winter

Dry winter

Dwd

Cold - Continental

Dry winter

Dry winter

EF

Polar

Icecap climate

IcecapIce cap

ET

Polar

Tundra type climate

Tundra


A. Tropical Moist Climates

  • Different kinds of sub climates can be found under this category such as Af, Am, and Aw.

  • This type of climate can be found in 15° to 25° in the north and south of the equator. 

  • In this type of climate, the temperature always remains above 18°C.

  • The annual precipitation here is generally above 1500 mm.

  • Af represents the Tropical wet Climate. Here, in tropical regions usually, the tropical climate is there along with precipitation all year round. Monthly variations in temperature of around or less than 3°C can be seen. Here, extreme high humidity is found along with cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds which form every day which leads to high precipitation.

  • Am represents the Tropical monsoon climate. Here, annual precipitation is much similar to that of Af, but mostly occurs within 7 to 9 of the warmest months and the rest of the years usually less rainfall occurs here.

  • Aw represents Tropical wet and dry climate or we can say Savannah type of climate. Extended dry season can be seen in the winters whereas, in the wet season, precipitation occurs less than 1000 mm and usually in the summers.


B. Dry Climates

  • This type of climate is more dependent upon the nature of the precipitation rather than the temperature and here evaporation, as well as transpiration, exceeds the total precipitation.

  • This type of climate can be found in the range of 20° to 35° from the north and south of the equator.

  • It has further four subdivisions as BSh, BWh, BSk, and BWk. Basically, two major types here are BS and BW. Only ‘k’ and ‘h’ are suffixed attached to define the aridness or location.

  • BW is a dry arid climate and is considered the true desert climate which covers about 12% of the total land of the Earth.

  • BS represents the semi-arid type of climate which are grasslands regions and which covers almost 14% of the land of the Earth. These regions receive more rainfall than the BW type of climatic regions.


C. Moist SubTropical Mid-latitude Climate

  • In simple words, we can say that these are warm temperate climate regions where warm and humid summer and mild winters can be seen.

  • This type of climate can be found in the ranges of 30° to 50° in the north and south of the Equator and mainly can be found at the eastern or western sides of the continents.

  • Convective thunderstorms can be seen in the summertime whereas mid-latitude cyclones can be seen in the winters.

  • It can also be sub-classified into various categories. 

  • Cfa is a humid subtropical climate where hot and humid summers can be found with thunderstorms whereas winters are mild and precipitation usually occurs because of the cyclones.

  • Cfb is an example of marine climate that is found on the western edges or coasts of the continents. Here, hot and dry summer can be found with largely humid conditions whereas winters are mild with heavy precipitation.

  • Cs is an example of a Mediterranean type of climate where precipitation usually occurs in winters because of mid-latitude cyclones.


D. Moist Continental Mid-latitude Climates

  • In this type of climate, summers are usually warm but also can be cool whereas winters are usually cold.

  • This type of climate can be found towards the poles or at the subtropical mid-latitude climates or C-climates.

  • The average temperature is only above 10°C during the warmest months whereas, in coldest months, it can be less than minus 3° C.

  • Here, winters are very cold along with strong winds as well as snowstorms that come from the Continental polar regions or the Arctic air masses.

  • It has also further subdivisions which include major three types i.e. Dw which means dry winters, Ds which means dry summers, and Df represents precipitation all around the year.


E. Polar Climate

  • Here, in these types of climatic regions, the temperature is too low.

  • Even, in the warmest months of the year as well, the temperature is less than 10°C. 

  • It usually occurs in the coastal areas of the northern regions of Asia, North America, Europe, Greenland, and Antarctica.

  • It is also further divided into various types such as ET and EF. ET refers to Polar Tundra where the soil in the form of permafrost can be seen and EF refers to Polar Ice Caps that are permanently frozen.


There are various merits and demerits for the Koppen Climate Classification System. So first, let us take look at the merits of it.


Merits

There are numerous merits of the Koppen climate classification system, out of which some are mentioned below:

  • The Koppen climate structure is quantitative in nature along with its division.

  • The system is basically one that is quite easy to understand. 

  • One can measure the Koppen climate classification system in an easy manner as well.

  • The Koppen climate classification system coincides with the vegetation pattern that is found in any region.

  • The Koppen climate classification system has importance pertaining to two major factors, which are temperature and precipitation.

  • The Koppen climate classification system is very vast, so much so that it actually covers all the types of climate patterns as well as conditions that are found on the Earth.


Demerits

You must be aware of the saying – Every coin has two sides. It is true in terms of concepts relating to the Koppen climate classification system as well.  And so, here are a few of the demerits that you must be aware of:

  • The concept is quite vast and has various classifications which might get difficult to memorize at times.

  • The Koppen climate classification system is majorly based on the average values. This pertains to the fact that one needs average values of temperature and precipitation in order to make use of it. You may already know how precipitation is much more of an aspect that is estimated rather than measured. So, such average values are, on occasions, difficult when it comes to comparisons and yielding the desired results.

  • The Koppen climate classification system ignores various features. These include the intensity of the precipitation, number of rainy days, cloud coverage, variations in temperature or precipitation, and much more.

  • In this system of Koppen climate classification, Koppen also ignored the air masses and their significance in the climate formation that contribute a lot in Climatology.

FAQs on Koppen Climate Classification

1. What is the correct explanation for the climate classification system given by Koppen?

Wladimir Köppen was born in Russia, in 1846. He was one of the great German Climatologists and an amateur botanist. It was him who gave a climate classification system, which was the first ever of its kind that came in the year 1918 and then modified continuously. It  was finally published in 1936, with it being done by the usage of different kinds of symbols. They represent various meanings and forms of climate. 


The climate classification is majorly done into five groups.  Among the major groups, A, B, C, D, and E, it is only B that belongs to the dry type of climate. The others are the ones that represent the humid climate groups. Sometimes, there is a sixth as well, denoted as H, which is for the highlands. These may even be divided further in order of their various features.

2. Is it important to use the Koppen climate classification system?

No, it is not a compulsory method to figure out the climate classification using this method only. However, the Koppen climate classification system is one that can be trusted to find the correct results. The one thing that is easy about this particular method is the fact that this is pretty easy to use and measure. The system is in particular one that coincides with the pattern of the vegetation that is found to be applicable within a specific region.

3. What is the Koppen climate classification system?

The Koppen climate classification system is one that divides the many climates in our nature into 5 major categories. The groups are categorized as A, B, C, D, and E which all denote tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar, respectively. These categorizations are done based on the seasonal precipitation as well as the patterns of the temperature that are there. The whole scheme measures the climate of the zones which can be found all over the world, and the measurement depends on the vegetation.

4. What are the disadvantages of the Koppen classification?

There are a few disadvantages of the Koppen climate classification system, some of which are mentioned below:

  • The system of Koppen climate classification is not really applicable universally. 

  • There are no provisions regarding the temperature extremes, amount of cloud cover, or the net radiation. 

  • The system cannot be utilized for planning or land management purposes. It is due to the fact that such things require much more precision and they depend on a few other factors as well which are more suitable to be utilized.

5. What Is the Meaning of Different Symbols Used in the Koppen Classification?

The five major climate zones are represented by capital letters i.e. A, B, C, D, and E along with the sixth category H. A represents Tropical Moist, B is for Dry climate, C refers to Moist SubTropical Mid-latitude Climate, D refers to Moist Continental Mid-latitude Climate, and E represents Polar type of climate whereas H stands for Highlands. Besides, these small letters are also used on the basis of their features like temperature and precipitation or level of dryness or coldness, etc. Symbol 'a' means hot summer in which average temperature is above 22°C, 'c' refers to cool summer where the average temperature is below 22°C, 'f' means no dry season, 'w' represents a dry season in winters and 's' represents a dry season in summer, and 'g' refers to Ganges' type of temperature of annual march when the hottest month comes before the Solstice as well as the summer rainfall. 'h' means where the annual average temperature is less than 18°C, 'm' means monsoon. Besides these, Capital 'S' and 'W' are used for the further classification of the dry season in which 'S' means semi-arid regions or steppe whereas 'W' represents arid or desert regions. For further division of polar climate, capital 'T' and 'F' symbols are used. In which 'T' means Tundra and 'F' means Icecap. Besides all these, Capital H represents the highlands.

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