Revision of the climate types of the earth  – Design of a didactically justified modular classification scheme using current global climate data sets  

Prof. Dr. Alexander Siegmund


The identification of different climates and climate types still has an important significance in many climatic-geographic issues. The majority of classification approaches so far provide all levels of classification rigidly and without a gradual build-up in a climate map, such as in Köppen / Geiger (1928) and Troll / Paffen (1963). Other problems of these approaches arise from a partly outdated technical and methodological foundation and the use of highly obsolete data.

For this reason, a technically-methodologically current and didactically well-founded classification scheme was developed based on an approach of Sigmund (1995), which is based on a modular system. The progressive development of the climate classification can be adapted to the specific user conditions. The classification criteria of the effective classification approach are the three elements temperature, precipitation and potential landscape-evaporation.

Heat and water balance are the most important climate-ecologically relevant indicator of an area. For this reason, the climate classification Siegmund / Frankenberg (2008) identifies five thermal climates that are based on the annual average temperatures on the first classification level. Then the dry-climates of the earth are overlayed, which are separated by an annual rainfall of less than 250 mm. In another two classification levels, the climates are further differentiated based on water and heat balance.

The classification is continually updated and further developed methodically. It is used in different editions of the DIERCKE world atlas and in numerous school books.


Climate classification according to Siegmund/Frankenberg on the first classification level with 5 thermal climate zones and the dry climates 

(Source: Siegmund/Frankenberg 2013, Klimakunde – Wetter, Klima und Atmosphäre)

Project start: 2008


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