I’m back from the TEK conference and it was amazing. Still gathering my thoughts and processing everything I experienced. Will post some key reflections and take-aways soon!
In the meantime, because I am a sucker for big-picture geographic classifications, I just saw this really cool simple climatic classification system from Koppen, a Russian-German climatologist and botanist. (This is from Gordon et al.’s Stream Hydrology: An Introduction for Ecologists.)
The first letter is a broad, general category:
- A – tropical rainy climate, no month’s average temperature cooler than 18 C (64 F).
- C – humid warm climate, average temperature of the coldest month between 18 C and -3 C (64 F and 26 F)
- D – humid cool climate, average temp of the coldest month below -3 C (26 F) and average temp of the warmest month above 10 C (50 F)
- E – polar/alpine climate, average temp of warmest month below 10 C (50 F)
- B – arid climate, evaporation exceeds rainfall.
The second letter classifies seasonal rainfall:
- s – dry summer.
- w – dry winter.
- f – year-round rain.
- m – monsoon-type rains.
The third letter “fine-tunes” the summer temperatures – a is warmest, b is middle, c is coolest – within the range of climates that have the first two classifications.
This last past seems the most squirrely to me – I would need to see a map to really understand what “a” “b” and “c” meant within a given climate type. But the first two are really easy to assess. Here in northern Vermont, we have a humid cool climate with year-round rainfall, so that’s “Df” (and probably Dfb given that Df would extend significantly north and south from here). Coastal California would be “Bs.” (There’s an alternative classification for B climates that uses different letters to describe arid/semi-arid, but I’m using the standard one because I don’t think the alternative describes mediterranean climates very well. I would probably modify the the system for my own purposes, as many other people have done, if I were to use it more extensively.)
The really interesting thing here, of course, would be to create some taxonomy for agriculture and built-environment design directions for each climate type, a la Bill Mollison’s Designer’s Manual. Another “think-and-do tank” project waiting for someone to grab it!