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Essay/Term paper: Climatology

Essay, term paper, research paper:  World History

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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
Pg. 2
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.


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