Vladimir Köppen

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Vladimir Peter Köppen

Wladimir Peter Köppen ( Russian Владимир Петрович Кёппен , Vladimir Petrovich Kjoppen ; born September 25 . Jul / 7. October  1846 greg. In St. Petersburg , Russian Empire ; † 22. June 1940 in Graz , German Empire ) was a German and Russian geographer , Meteorologist , climatologist and botanist .


Wladimir Peter Köppen was born to German parents, Peter von Köppen and Alexandrine, née von Adelung, born in Russia and went to school in Crimea . Even then he was interested in the connection between plants and the climatic zones in which they grow. He later studied at the universities of Saint Petersburg , Heidelberg and Leipzig , where he received his doctorate in 1870.

From 1872 to 1875 he was employed by the Russian Meteorological Service in Saint Petersburg and was also secretary of the Russian Geographical Society . In 1875 he moved back to Germany and became head of the then newly created sea ​​weather service at the Deutsche Seewarte in Hamburg , where he worked until 1919.

His daughter Else, born on February 1, 1892, married the German polar explorer Alfred Wegener in 1913 .

Köppen campaigned for the planned language Esperanto and published articles in this language in the Scienca Revuo and in the Germana Esperantisto.


In 1922 he was accepted as a corresponding member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences . In 1925 he was elected a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . In 1936 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

The headland Köppen Point on the north coast of South Georgia is named after him.


He played a decisive role in the development of the German sea ​​weather service and maritime meteorology . He published more than 500 publications, most of which dealt with the meteorological security of shipping and the climatic conditions of the oceans and continents .


Division of the world into climatic zones according to Köppen

His work Geographical System of Climates from 1936, which represents the first objective climate classification of the earth, is still of great importance today.

The classification takes place with the help of a climate formula, which takes into account the temperature , the amount and distribution of precipitation as well as references to the vegetation . This results in five climate zones :

A: Tropical climates

  • Af tropical rainforest climate (always humid)
  • In the rainforest climate despite the dry season
  • Aw savannah climate (dry in winter)

B: dry climate

C: Warm temperate climates

D: Boreal climate or snow forest climate

  • Df always moist
  • Dw trans -Siberian climate (dry in winter)

E: Ice climates beyond the tree line or snow climates


Köppen's classification is a so-called effective climate classification , as he identifies the individual climate zones from his knowledge of the analysis of the actual (effective) climatic elements measurable on the earth's surface ( temperature , precipitation , etc.) as well as the actual vegetation that can be found (as an expression of the prevailing climatic conditions that has become visible , (Klima proxy )) were created.

Other well-known effective climate classifications were also presented (in joint work) by Carl Troll and Karlheinz Paffen (1914–1983). A significant dissemination of the climate classification action ( Köppen-Geiger climate classification ) took place through the Munich meteorologist Rudolf Geiger .

Köppen's estate is at the Graz University Library .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Enciklopedio de Esperanto , Budapest 1933.
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 135.
  3. Member entry of Wladimir Köppen at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on November 13, 2015.