What is climatology? How does it differ from weather? Describe the Koppen
Climate Classification and its purpose.
Climatology is one of the several branches of physical geography, but it differs
from weather in several ways. The term climate implies an average, or long term record
of weather conditions at a certain region. It conveys a generalization of all the recorded
weather observations in a given area. Weather conditions are recorded in specifics for
any given moment in time: the temperature, percentage of rainfall, and percentage of
humidity. Climate on the other hand, is described in more general terms. Humid
Equatorial climates, Dry climates, and Cold Polar climates are marked by certain
prevailing characteristics that can be mapped such as continuous snow or deserts.
One of the most popular classification systems is the Koppen Climate
Classification system, which gives different climates three letters that describe that
climate. The Koppen Climate Classification system is comparatively simple
and is based on a triad of letter symbols. The first (capital) letter is the critical one; the
A climates are humid and tropical; the B climates are very dry; the C climates are
humid and mild; the D climates reflect increasing cold; and the E climates mark the
polar areas. The first letter is followed by two more letters that further define the climate
of that region. The second letter represents and explains the dry season: whether there is
or isn't a dry season, whether it is a short or long dry season, and what season it comes in
either a dry winter or a dry summer. The third letter defines the temperature of different
seasons either a hot or cool summer or a cold or warm winter.
The purpose of the Koppen Climate Classification system is to assist in the
realization of the importance of generalization, allowing you to concentrate on the big
picture unaffected by less important complexities such as trade winds and jet streams.
This methodology persists as a leading model in contemporary geography. In fact in
recent years, geography has expanded the search for theoretical principles through the
use of laboratory-like abstractions called spatial models. These spatial models are a
modern approach to generalization in both physical and human regional geography.