Tropical Design – Koppen’s Classification of Climate

May 10, 2017 WorldMaster


In the discussion of Tropical Architecture and Design for Cold Regions, one focus has proven to be indispensable – Climate. Climate has so much impact on architecture that it basically shapes, colors, constructs architecture. This has gone from generation to generation of trials where the architecture that cannot adapt to the local climate will be destroyed, revised or forgotten.


The study of climate leads us to the different classification of climate. The most recent and widely used nomenclature for Climate Classification is the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification System. The system was developed by climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, which provides for the arrangement of climates based on annual average temperature and rainfall or snowfall. His friend Rudolf Geiger modified the system to identify the native vegetation abundant in the region.




Under the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification System, there are 5 types of climate.


Tropical Climate –  Type A


Tropical Climates are found in places located within 25 °above and below the equator. These countries have very hot air temperature and high level of rainfall at over 150cm per year. This climate is recognizable by lush green forests where trees growing in height compete for sunlight.

There are three classifications under tropical climate: a) Tropical Wet, b) Tropical Monsoon and c) Savannah. These will be discussed in a future article.


Dr y Climate – Type B


The Dry Climate Areas are located at 20-35 ° north and south of the equator. As moisture in this region is very low, very few plants thrive in this environment. A factor that causes extreme heat and low moisture are its location in large continental masses or its position shielded by mountains.


Temperate Climate – Type C


The Temperate or Mesothermal Climate has warm and humid summers with mild winters. It is located at 30-50 °of the latitude and lie on the east and west edges of most continents.


Continental Climates – Type D


Continental Climates have warm to cool summers and very cold winters. They are located above the type C climates in the northern hemisphere and below type C in the southern hemisphere. The summer temperatures in this climate are recorded at 10°C while the coldest month average below −3° C.


Polar Climates – Type E


Polar Climates have extreme cold temperatures all-year-round. Its constant landscape are mosses, lichens, dwarf trs and woody shrubs and deep snow. Its warmest months are recorded at -10° C. These landmasses can be found near or at the poles.



Climate Characteristics


Tropical Climates
Climates with all months having average temperature above 18 °C (64.4 °F)


Dry Climates
Climates with scarce precipitation during most of the year


Temperate/ Mesothermal Climates
Climates with Mild Winters


Continental/ Microthermal Climates
Climates with Cold Winters


Polar Climates
Climates with extremely cold winters and summers


The practice of architecture is highly dependent on a good understanding of the Köppen-Geiger Climate Classification System. Certain disciplines such as Tropical Design, Passive Cooling and Passive heating require knowledge of these climate groupings.

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