GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 108-8
Presentation Time: 10:05 AM


GREENE, Mott T., Earth & Space Sciences, University of Washington, Box 351310, Seattle, WA 98195-1310,

Köppen’s system of descriptive zonal climatology, as set out in his 1901 map and accompanying explanatory material, has survived for more than 100 years. It has been described as the "least objectionable system of climate ever devised." It has, built into it, Köppen’s childhood, his employment history and his work habits, his feelings for plants, his background in Russian science, and his German tendency towards idealization. The climate system set forth in this map was advanced and strengthened by the length of Köppen’s career, by his placement in the scientific world, his control of periodicals, and above all by the solid, pedestrian utility and comprehensibility of the system he devised. It is a fascinating construct which continues to influence our everyday thinking about what a climate “is.”