Koppen Climate System

Köppen's climate classification was first published by Russian German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884. German climatologist Rudolf Geiger (1954, 1961) collaborated with Köppen on changes to the classification system, which is sometimes called the Köppen?Geiger system.

Köppen was the father in law of Alfred Wegener, who developed the theory of continental drift. Much of Wegener's evidence lay in paleoclimates and the past distribution of plants and animals, perhaps reflecting Köppen's influence.

The Köppen climate classification scheme divides climates into five main climate groups: A (tropical), B (dry), C (temperate), D (continental), and E (polar). The second letter indicates the seasonal precipitation type, while the third letter indicates the level of heat. The A-B-D-E and categories correspond closely with latitude, with minor adjustments for ocean moderation and elevation, while the B climates can occur over a range of latitudes where there is insufficient rainfall to support vegetation.

Raster GIS data grids for Koppen climate

This is actually stored as a point database, but the values are on a ½º by ½º grid with the Koppen climate class at each point on land, for the time period 1976 to 2000. The data comes from The Institute for Veterinary Public Health, University of Vienna; they have additional periods for the entire 20th century, since climate does not appear to be static, and projections for the 21st century.

Storage as a table allows the color and category names to be included.  It also keeps the grid from trying to interpolate values.

This is not an equal area projection, but using the variable size of a ½º by ½º  which changes with latitude, you could compute the area covered by each category.


Classification from monthly climate grids of temperature and precipication

Set geography options.

MICRODEM Koppen Classification 




Koppen Classification algorithm used in MICRODEM.

Last revised 9/10/2019