What do you know about Stamp’s and Koppen’s classification of climatic regions of India? What are the further subdivisions as per their theories? Read the article to get an in-depth understanding.
Although India has a monsoon climate, regional variations exist due to different weather elements. These variations create subtypes of the monsoon climate, forming the basis for identifying climatic regions.
Each climatic region has a homogeneous climatic condition resulting from a combination of factors, with temperature and rainfall being decisive factors in all classification schemes. The classification of climate is a complex exercise, with various methods available.
Stamp’s Classification of Climatic Regions
The Dudley Stamp climate classification is an alternative climate classification system developed by British geographer and climatologist, Laurence Dudley Stamp.
This classification system is designed to emphasize the climatic factors most relevant to human settlement and land use. It differs from other climate classification systems, such as the Köppen classification, by focusing more on the practical implications of climate for human activities.
The Dudley Stamp climate classification system includes five main climate groups, which are further divided into subtypes:
Arid Climates (A):
- A1: Hot desert climate with high evaporation rates (similar to BWh in Köppen).
- A2: Cool desert climate with lower evaporation rates (similar to BWk in Köppen).
Temperate Climates (B):
- B1: Warm-summer Mediterranean climate (similar to Csa in Köppen).
- B2: Warm-summer continental climate (similar to Dfa, Dfb in Köppen).
- B3: Cool-summer continental climate (similar to Dfc, Dfd in Köppen).
Snow Climates (C):
- C1: Maritime snow climate (similar to Cfb, Cfc in Köppen).
- C2: Continental snow climate (similar to Dfb, Dfc, and Dfd in Köppen).
Polar Climates (D):
- D1: Tundra climate (similar to ET in Köppen).
- D2: Ice cap climate (similar to EF in Köppen).
Humid Climates (E):
- E1: Hot humid climate (similar to Af in Köppen).
- E2: Warm humid climate (similar to Am, Aw in Köppen).
- E3: Cool humid climate (similar to Cfa, Cwa in Köppen).
Stamp’s Classification of the Climatic Regions of India
L. Dudley Stamp and Kendrew shared similar views on the classification of India’s climate.
- They divided the country into two primary regions, based on the Tropic of Cancer.
- This line roughly follows the 18°C isotherm of mean monthly temperature in January.
- The northern part of this line is referred to as Temperate India, while the southern part is known as Tropical India.
- Both of these central climatic regions are further divided into eleven sub-regions based on the amount of rainfall and temperature.
While this classification is considered rational and reasonable, it is also subjective to a certain degree.
(A) Temperate India
This region is alternatively known as continental India, where the temperature in January does not exceed 18°C. It is further divided into five sub-regions based on the amount of rainfall and the physical characteristics of the area.
- Himalayan Region
- North-West Region
- Dry Desert Region
- Moderate Rainfall Region
- The Transitional Region
(B) Tropical India
This region is located south of the Tropic of Cancer, where the temperature in January exceeds 18°C. The isotherm line for this region does not strictly follow the Tropic of Cancer line. It is divided into six sub-divisions based on various factors.
- Very Heavy Rainfall Region
- Heavy Rainfall Region
- Moderate Rainfall Region
- The Konkan Coast Region
- The Malabar Coast Region
- The Coastal Region of Tamilnadu
Köppen Classification of Climatic Regions
The Köppen climate classification is a widely used system for classifying the world’s climates. It was developed by Wladimir Köppen, a German botanist and climatologist, in 1884, and has been revised several times since then.
- The Köppen classification system uses average monthly temperature and precipitation data to classify climates into five primary types, four of them are based on temperature and one on precipitation: tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar.
- These primary types are further divided into subtypes, and the resulting classification is based on a combination of letters and numbers that represent the different climate types and subtypes.
In the table below, the capital letters: A, C, D, and E delineate humid climates and B dry climates.
The different climatic groups are further classified into various types, denoted by small letters, based on the seasonal patterns of precipitation and temperature characteristics.
- The dry seasons are indicated by the letters f, m, w, and s, where f indicates no dry season, m refers to a monsoon climate, w denotes a winter dry season, and s signifies a summer dry season.
- The small letters a, b, c, and d are used to indicate the degree of temperature severity. In the B-Dry Climates, the subdivisions are denoted by the capital letters S for steppe or semi-arid and W for deserts, based on the level of aridity.
Group A: Tropical Humid Climates
Tropical humid climates exist between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The annual range of temperature is deficient and annual rainfall is high. The tropical group is divided into three types, namely:
- Af: Tropical Rainforest Climate – High precipitation throughout the year.
- Am: Tropical Monsoon Climate – High precipitation in the summer season.
- Aw: Tropical Savanna Climate – Distinct wet and dry seasons.
Group B: Dry Climates
Dry climates are characterized by minimal rainfall that is insufficient to support the growth of plants.
- These climates are widespread and cover vast latitudes between 15° to 60° north and south of the equator.
- They are classified into two main types: steppe or semi-arid climate (BS) and desert climate (BW).
These classifications are further subdivided based on latitude. The subtropical regions falling between latitudes of 15° to 35° are classified as subtropical steppe (BSh) and subtropical desert (BWh). On the other hand, the mid-latitude regions between 35° to 60° are classified as mid-latitude steppe (BSk) and mid-latitude desert (BWk).
- BWh: Hot Desert Climate – Hot temperatures and very low rainfall.
- BWk: Cold Desert Climate – Cold winters with low rainfall.
- BSh: Hot Steppe Climate – Hot temperatures with limited rainfall.
- BSk: Cold Steppe Climate – Cold winters with limited rainfall.
Group C: Warm Temperate (Mid-Latitude) Climates
Warm temperate (mid-latitude) climates extend from 30° – 50° of latitude mainly on the eastern and western margins of continents. These climates generally have warm summers with mild winters. They are grouped into five subtypes:
- Cfa: Humid Subtropical Climate – Hot summers and mild winters with rainfall throughout the year.
- Cwa: Monsoon-influenced Humid Subtropical Climate – Hot summers with rainy and dry seasons.
- Cfb: Marine West Coast Climate – Mild temperatures with moderate rainfall throughout the year.
- Cfc: Subpolar Oceanic Climate – Cold temperatures with moderate rainfall throughout the year.
- Csa: Mediterranean Climate – Hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
Group D: Continental Climates
These climates experience distinct seasons, with cold winters and warm to hot summers. They are further divided into four subtypes:
- Dfa: Hot Summer Continental Climate – Hot summers and cold winters.
- Dfb: Warm Summer Continental Climate – Warm summers and cold winters.
- Dfc: Subarctic Climate – Cold winters and cool summers.
- Dfd: Extremely Cold Subarctic Climate – Very cold winters and cool summers.
Group E: Polar Climates
Polar climates exist poleward beyond 70° latitude. Polar climates consist of two types:
- ET: Tundra Climate – Cold temperatures with short, cool summers.
- EF: Ice Cap Climate – Extremely cold temperatures with little to no vegetation.
Group H: Highland Climates
The climate in highland areas is primarily influenced by the topography of the region. In mountainous terrain, even small distances can result in significant fluctuations in mean temperature.
Precipitation types and intensity also vary across highlands in space. Additionally, there is a vertical zonation of climatic types as we move up in altitude, resulting in distinct layers of climatic conditions in the mountainous environment.
Köppen Classification of Climatic Regions of India
The Köppen climate classification system categorizes India’s diverse climate zones into several different types based on temperature, precipitation, and other climatic characteristics.
India experiences a wide range of climate types due to its vast geographical extent and varying topography. Here are the main Köppen climate types found in different regions of India:
Tropical Monsoon Climate (Am):
- Characteristics: This climate is characterized by high temperatures and a distinct wet season (monsoon) with heavy rainfall. Summers are hot, and winters are relatively dry.
- Distribution: Most of India, including the western coastal areas, the northern plains, and the northeastern states, experiences a tropical monsoon climate. Cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Delhi fall under this category.
Tropical Savanna Climate (Aw):
- Characteristics: This climate has distinct wet and dry seasons. Summers are hot and wet, while winters are dry and cooler.
- Distribution: Regions of India that experience the tropical savanna climate include parts of central and peninsular India, such as Hyderabad and Chennai.
Subtropical Humid Climate (Cfa, Cwa):
- Characteristics: Summers are hot, and winters are mild. Rainfall is well-distributed throughout the year. Cfa has a warm summer, while Cwa has a monsoon-influenced summer.
- Distribution: Cities like Delhi, Lucknow, and Kolkata fall under the subtropical humid climate.
Desert Climate (BWh, BWk):
- Characteristics: Hot temperatures and very low rainfall. BWk has cold winters.
- Distribution: The Thar Desert in northwestern India, including regions of Rajasthan, experiences a desert climate.
Mountain Climate (Cwb, Cwc, Dsb, Dsc, ET, EF):
- Characteristics: These climates are found in high-altitude regions. Summers are cool, and winters are cold. Cwb and Cwc have more precipitation than Dsb and Dsc. ET represents a tundra climate, and EF represents an ice cap climate.
- Distribution: Himalayan regions of northern India, including places like Shimla, experience mountain climates.
Semi-Arid and Arid Climates (BSh, BSk):
- Characteristics: Hot temperatures with limited rainfall. BSh has a hot steppe climate, while BSk has a cold steppe climate.
- Distribution: Parts of northwestern and central India, including cities like Jaipur, experience semi-arid and arid climates.
Tropical Rainforest Climate (Af):
- Characteristics: High temperatures and heavy rainfall throughout the year.
- Distribution: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as well as some parts of northeastern India, experience the tropical rainforest climate.
Mediterranean Climate (Csa):
- Characteristics: Hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters.
- Distribution: A small region along the western coast of India, including parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka, experiences a Mediterranean climate.
The Dudley Stamp climate classification system places greater emphasis on the human aspects of climate and its impact on agriculture, settlement, and other human activities. It’s particularly useful for geographers and planners interested in understanding how climate affects the practical aspects of life in different regions.
The Köppen climate classification system provides a way to understand and categorize the world’s diverse climates based on shared characteristics. It has been widely adopted by scientists, geographers, and climatologists for research and communication purposes.
However, it’s worth noting that the Köppen climate classification remains more widely recognized and used internationally for its comprehensive categorization of global climate patterns. The Dudley Stamp classification is more specialized and may be of particular interest to researchers and professionals studying the human-environment interaction in specific regions.
Article Written By: Priti Raj