Climate The Koppen Scheme

Wladimir Koppen's climate classification scheme, in various stages of development from its beginning in 1884, arrived at its ultimate form during the 1930s with the writing and publication of the five-volume Handbuch der Klimatologie (Handbook of climatology). Edited by Koppen with his colleague Rudolph Geiger, these volumes presented the results of the latest climatological studies from around the world. They also presented the final version of Koppen's personal classification scheme.

Climate classification schemes generally fall into one of two categories: genetic or empirical.

• Genetic classification schemes group climate types on the basis of their cause. That is, the scheme develops by asking the question, Why do climate types occur where they do? The cause may be a geographic feature (for example, the presence or absence of a large body of water), the result of net solar energy at the surface (that is, the difference between the amount of radiation that arrives at a given location and the amount that leaves), or the result of air mass analysis (that is, the presence of a predominant air mass type).

• Empirical classification schemes analyze the presence of readily identifiable characteristics that represent the effect of climate. For example, the types and quantities of vegetation that occur or the extent to which exposed bedrock erodes is an indication of persistent weather patterns. The Koppen scheme was a combination of both genetic and empirical schemes.

Because of his early academic training in botany, Koppen was first drawn to the relationship between plant growth and temperature. Using vegetation as a naturally occurring indicator of climate regimes, he combined information on the geographical extent of vegetation types, average monthly temperature and precipitation, and average annual temperature to define climate boundaries. He assigned letters, (A) tropical rainy; (B) dry; (C) midlatitude rainy, mild winter; (D) midlatitude rainy, cold winter; and (E) polar, to designate the five main climate groups found around the world. All of the groups except (B), which was controlled by the amount

The Russian-born German climatologist Wladimir Köppen publishes his famous

The U.S. Weather Bureau adopts the Bergen School relationship between weather conditions and vegetation climate classification scheme based on the air mass analysis method

MILESTONES

1931

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Responses

  • JUHA
    Did russian government agree with climatologist Koppen?
    8 years ago
  • jan
    Did the russian help koppen in the development of koppen climate?
    8 years ago
  • finley
    WHAT IS koppens scheme?
    8 years ago

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