Climate classification

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Effective climate classification according to Köppen and Geiger

Climate classifications are the basis for detailed geozonal models of climate zones .

All air classifications try the regionally very different climates (climate profiles) of the earth together and reproduce generalized (Air Types) .

A general distinction is made between genetic, effective and integrative climate classifications .


"Climatic classifications reflect the complex interrelationship of climatic elements and climatic factors as well as their effects on the earth's surface in climatic types , which in turn find their cartographic precipitation as climatic belts, climatic zones, climatic areas , etc."

- Lauer 1995, p. 188

Climatic classifications serve to classify the earth according to meteorological and climatological aspects on a regional scale . If one compares the climatic conditions of different areas of the earth and summarizes the data for similar combinations, one speaks of a climate type . A characteristic feature profile is developed from the local climate profiles , for example shown in the climate diagram . Similar climates are aggregated to form larger rooms that have the same climatic parameters (and thus roughly the same climate) within certain limit and guide values . The small spatial differences have to give way to the great regularities of the climates.

Classifications according to spatial criteria

There are different approaches to typology for all three methodologies and, as a result, different demarcations of related types between the individual systems.

These three classification methods can then be used to characterize individual areas (special climatic typology, such as the alpine climate or the Mediterranean climate (both are also representatives for general climate types)). This is mostly based on the superposition of various types of climate classification (Mediterranean climate of the Mediterranean area: subtropical marine climate, dry in summer and humid in winter, under the influence of the Atlantic climate in Europe, the Eurasian continental climate and the desert climate in North Africa, basin-shaped isolated by the weather divisions of the mountains in Europe, the Middle East and Africa).

In this way, ever finer subclimates can be broken down ( scale typological classification), from macroclimates to a medium scale of regional mesoclimate to microclimates of individual land forms as an ecological concept, or even in urban areas as an architectural problem (building climate , room climate ).

Classifications according to the cause-effect principle

Genetic classification

Main article: Genetic climate classification

Genetic climate classifications focus on the origin (genesis) of the climate. Rooms with the same climate are determined, for example, according to the continental or maritime character of a sub-area. The central basis of the genetic climate classifications is the earth's energy balance, based on the balance of irradiated and radiated energy, and the general circulation of the atmosphere based on it.

Hermann Flohn presented an early genetic climate classification , on which Ernst Neef's most common variant is based.

Effective classification

Main article: Effective climate classification

In contrast to the genetic classifications, the effective ones deal less with the formation of climates than with their appearance. The different forms of vegetation are an important starting point , as the same plants only grow under the same climatic conditions. This brings them closer to the various geozonal models of the landscape zones - especially the vegetation zones - with which they are largely parallel.

The best known of them are the structures by Köppen , and continued by Geiger , and the joint work of Troll and Paffen .

In order to be able to delimit the zones more precisely and to represent the climate in as much detail as possible, other climate elements , such as temperature, precipitation, are often included in the analysis. In addition to the Troll thermoisopleth diagram , the system of climate diagrams according to Walter and Lieth , which can be clearly assigned to specific climates and local variations, should also be mentioned here. In phenology , key data such as the arrival of spring are zoned.

Integrative classification

Main article: Integrative climate classification

The ecophysiological climate classification is a new, integrative climate classification and combines both genetic elements of the climate (genetic climate classification) and effective elements such as the current land cover (effective climate classification). It was developed by Wilhelm Lauer and Peter Frankenberg .


  • Albrecht Penk: Attempt to classify the climate on a physio-geographical basis. 1910.
  • Peter Hupfer: The Earth's Climate System. 1991, ISBN 3-05-500712-3 .
  • W. Lauer: climatology. 1995, ISBN 3-14-160284-0 .
  • W. Lauer, P. Frankenberg: Climate classification of the earth. In: Geographical Rundschau. 40, 1988, Westermann Verlag, Braunschweig.
  • A. Siegmund, P. Frankenberg: The climate types of the earth - a didactically based classification attempt. In: Geographical Rundschau. 51. Vol., H. 9, 1999, pp. 494-499.

Web links

Commons : Climate Classification Systems  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Richard Pott: General Geobotany. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 2005, ISBN 3-540-23058-0 .
  2. Dieter Heinrich, Manfred Hergt: dtv atlas for ecology. (= German 3228). 3. Edition. German Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-423-03228-6 .