World Climate

Three Broad Approaches for Classifying Climate, Koeppen’s Scheme of Classification of Climate etc.

Organizing data and converting the available information in small units to understand, describe, and analyse data easily can be one of the ways of studying the world climate. 

The 3 best methods for classifying climate are given below:

  1. Applied Classification: Classification done with specific purposes.
  2. Genetic Classification: Organizing climates as per their causes is done in genetic classification. 
  3. Empirical Classification: When data is monitored on the basis of temperature, precipitation, and other factors, it is known as empirical classification. 

Koeppen’s Scheme of Classification of Climate 

Koeppen created a classification scheme based on the empirical climate classification approach. It is widely used for the classification of climate. 

  • Koeppen determined how climate and vegetation distribution are related to each other
  • He chose some precipitation and temperature values and linked them with vegetation distribution. Further, he utilized them for climate classification
  • This empirical classification is done on the basis of precipitation information, and mean monthly and yearly temperatures 
  • He used small and capital letters to represent climate types and groups
  • He found 5 main climatic groups in which four are related to temperature and one is related to precipitation
  • Capital A, C, D, and E indicate humid climate whereas B indicates dry climate 

The climatic groups are further divided into different types. These subdivided groups are denoted by small letters on the basis of precipitation seasonality and characteristics of temperature. 

The dry seasons are denoted by f, m, w, and s letters. 

  • f: no seasons of dryness
  • m: monsoon climate
  • w: winter dry season
  • s: summer dry season

The level of temperature severity is denoted by a, b, c, and d. 

B i.e. seasons of dryness are further classified by using S (capital letter) for regions such as semi-arid or steppe and deserts are denoted by W. 

Tropical Humid Climate

  • It exists between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn
  • ITCZ makes the climate hot and humid
  • Annual range of temperature is very low and rainfall is high

Dry Climates

  • Areas that receive very low rainfall and are not adequate for the growth of plants
  • It covers a large area of the planet extending over latitudes from 15° – 60° N and S of the equator
  • At low latitudes, from 15° – 30°, they occur in the area of subtropical high 
  • On middle latitudes, from 35° – 60° N and S of the equator
  • Dry climates are divided into steppe or semi-arid climate (BS) and desert climate (BW)

Warm Climate

  • This climate generally has warm summers with mild winters
  • Grouped into four types, i.e humid subtropical, which is dry in winter and hot in summer (Cwa); Mediterranean (Cs); humid subtropical, when there is no dry season and the winter is mild (Cfa); and lastly Marine west coast climate (Cfb)

Cold Snow Frost Climates

  • Occurs in the large continental area in the northern hemisphere between 40°-70° N latitudes in Europe, Asia and North America 
  • Severity of winter is more pronounced in higher latitudes
  • Two types of cold snow frost climates are cold climate with humid winter and cold climate with dry winter

Polar Climates

  • it  exists poleward beyond 70° latitude
  • Two types of polar climates are tundra and ice cap

Highland Climates

  • This climate is governed by topography
  • In high mountains, large changes in mean temperature occur over short distances
  • Precipitation types and intensity also vary spatially across highlands
  • Represents vertical zonation of layering of climatic types with elevation in the mountain environment


Climate can be studied by organizing information and data and synthesizing climate data into smaller units. It is helpful for easier understanding, description and analysis purposes. Three broad approaches have been adopted for classifying climate. Various climate types according to Keoppen are tropical humid climate, dry climate, warm climate, cold snow forest climate, cold climates and highlands.