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Thornthwaite climate classification

Thornthwaite climate classification A system for describing climates devised in 1931 and revised in 1948 by the American climatologist Charles Warren Thornthwaite (1889–1963) which divides climates into groups according to the vegetation characteristic of them, the vegetation being determined by precipitation effectiveness (P/E, where P is the total monthly precipitation and E is the total monthly evaporation). The sum of the monthly P/E values gives the P/E index, which is used to define five humidity provinces, with associated vegetation. A P/E index of more than 127 (wet) indicates rain forest; 64–127 (humid) indicates forest; 32–63 (subhumid) indicates grassland; 16–31 (semi-arid) indicates steppe; less than 16 (arid) indicates desert. In 1948 the system was modified to incorporate a moisture index, which relates the water demand by plants to the available precipitation, by means of an index of potential evapotranspiration (PE), calculated from measurements of air temperature and day length. In arid regions the moisture index is negative because precipitation is less than the PE. The system also uses an index of thermal efficiency, with accumulated monthly temperatures ranging from 0, giving a frost climate, to more than 127, giving a tropical climate. Compare Köppen climate classification and Strahler climate classification.

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"Thornthwaite climate classification." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Thornthwaite climate classification." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thornthwaite-climate-classification-0

Thornthwaite climate classification

Thornthwaite climate classification System for describing climates, devised in 1931 and revised in 1948 by the American climatologist C. W. Thornthwaite, that divides climates into groups according to the vegetation characteristic of them, the vegetation being determined by precipitation effectiveness (P/E, where P is the total monthly precipitation, and E is the total monthly evaporation). The sum of the monthly P/E values gives the P/E index, which is used to define five humidity provinces, with associated vegetation. A P/E index of more than 127 (wet) indicates rain forest; 64–127 (humid) indicates forest; 32–63 (subhumid) indicates grassland; 16–31 (semi-arid) indicates steppe; less than 16 (arid) indicates desert. In 1948 the system was modified to incorporate a moisture index, which relates the water demand by plants to the available precipitation, by means of an index of potential evapotran-spiration (PE), calculated from measurements of air temperature and day length. In arid regions the moisture index is negative because precipitation is less than the PE. The system also uses an index of thermal efficiency, with accumulated monthly temperatures ranging from 0, giving a frost climate, to more than 127, giving a tropical climate. See also KÖPPEN CLIMATE CLASSIFICATION; and STRAHLER CLIMATE CLASSIFICATION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Thornthwaite climate classification." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Thornthwaite climate classification." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thornthwaite-climate-classification

"Thornthwaite climate classification." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/thornthwaite-climate-classification