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Climate Diagrams
Climate diagrams are brief summaries of average climatic variables and their time course. They have proven
usef ul f or a wide range of sciences, industry, and teaching. In bio- and geosciences, they are used as an
instrument to show the relationships between soil, vegetation, and climate. In agronomic sciences, they are
used to indicate the range f or certain crops. They are usef ul f or planning and design. They indicate optimal
travel schedules f or the tourist industries. The diagrams display monthly averages f or temperature and
precipitation over a year. Each tic mark along the horizontal line (abscissa) indicates a month. The diagrams
start with January in the lef t corner of the diagram f or the northern hemisphere and with July f or the
southern hemisphere respectively. Thus, the astronomic summer is always shown in the middle of the
diagram. 20 mm of monthly precipitation (right ordinate) equal 10C average temperature (lef t ordinate).
When the precipitation curve undercuts the temperature curve, the area in between them is dotted (every 2
mm) indicating dry season. When the precipitation curve supercedes the temperature curve, vertical lines
are plotted f or each month (with tic marks every 2 mm) indicating moist season. A very important ecological
variable is f rost. The diagram shows daily average minimum temperatures below zero in black bars below
the horizontal line. All diagrams are designed in a unif orm pattern, illustrated by the f ollowing sample:
1 Country name, station location and elevation,
station name 2 Period of observation of
temperature (77 years) and precipitation (55
years) 3 Annual average of temperature and
annual precipitation sum
4 (red) Temperature curve
5 (blue) Precipitation time series
6 Indication of f rost periods
7 Mean daily max. temperature of the warmest
month 8 Mean daily min. temperature of the
coldest month


The climate diagram world atlas compiled by Walter and Lieth (1957-1966) has been in use by geographers,
phytosociologists, agronomists, and f oresters. The original atlas was published in three large editions and
has been sold out f or over 20 years. Along with the development of computer capacities in the scientif ic
laboratories, f irst attempts to construct diagrams through computer routines were undertaken by
Ostendorf et al. (1981, 1982). The f urther step towards that goal was taken by H. Lieth and S. Riediger, the
result of which was published in Lieth (1998). The Global Historical Climatology Network version 2
temperature database was released in May 1997 by the National Climatic Data Center (Peterson 1997).
The data of 3,400 stations were used f or the diagrams available in the CD-Series: Climate and Biosphere,
1999, H. Lieth, ISSN 0936-3120, Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, ISBN 90.5782.031.5. These diagrams are used
in ZooLex.
The f ollowing examples will help you read the diagrams. They are f rom Walter Heinrich and Lieth Helmut,
Klimadiagram-Weltatlas, VEB Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena, 1967:
A cartogram was made by Walter and Lieth separating regions with similar climate. The pricipal climatic types
of the world are given below. The climate diagrams look similar f or each of the climatic types.
Climatic Types and Examples: Typical Climate Diagrams:

I equatorial, humid
Andagoya in Colombia
Lomie in Camerun
Cairns in Australia
II tropical, summer rains
Parana in Brazil
Johannesburg in South Af rica
Darwin in Australia
III subtropical, hot and arid
Lima in Peru
Swakopmund in Southwest Af rica
Kuwait
IV mediterranean, winter rains
Valparaiso in Chile
Capetown in South Af rica
Lisboa in Portugal
V warm-temperate, humid
Montevideao in Uruguay
East London in South Af rica
Rize in Northern Anatolia
VI humid, with cold seasons
Kristiansand in Norway
Puerto Aisen in Chile
Topeka in the United States
VII arid, with cold seasons
Turkestan in Central Asia
Sarmiento in Argentina
Ely in the United States
VIII boreal
Olekminsk in Siberia
Moscow in Central Russia
Stockholm in Sweden
IX arctic
Karskije Vorota in Northern Russia
Mehamn in Norway
Ushuaia in Argentina
X mountain areas in other regions
Nuwara Eliya in Ceylon
Cedres in Libanon
Ollague in Chile