, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 185-202

Köppen Climate Types in Observed and Simulated Climates

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Abstract

The Köppen climate classification was applied to the observed gridded climatological sets and the outputs of four general circulation models (GCMs) over the continents of the Earth. All data had been acquired via the Data Distribution Centre established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The ability of the GCMs to simulate the Köppen climate zones identified in the real data was explored and possible future (global warming) changes in the climate types' distribution for each GCM were assessed. Differences in the area distributions derived from the GCMs' recent climate simulations give evidence about uncertainties generally involved in climate models. As to the global warming simulations, all GCM projections of warming climate (horizon 2050) show that the zones representing tropical rain climates and dry climates become larger, and the zones identified with boreal forest and snow climates together with the polar climates are smaller.