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What actually is climate?

Climate-Diagram of Darwin
Impact of the climate on the Kimberley-Region
Impact of the climate on the Kakadu Nationalpark
Impact of the climate on the north entrance of the Tanami Track
Impact of the climate on Lake Eyre
Impact of the climate on the Flinders Ranges

In all the brevity, because we don't want to explode the scope of the Wiki here: We understand the totality of all meteorological statuses - therefore a type medium status - by the climate over a longer period of time. This is in the full contrast by the weather. The weather represents only the current meteorological status of the atmosphere at a certain place at a certain time. The climate has direct influence on the regional one fauna and flora. The here shown photos should explain the impact of the climate on the environment.

The climate is marked by a multiplicity of different elements:

  • Weatherdata of temperature, precipitation, atmospheric humidity, wind force and sunshine duration, collected over a long time limit of several years.
  • Specification of regional conditions: How is it country-sea partitioning? Are there any lakes, forests and glaciers?
  • How is the geographical location between equator and poles?

The diagrams shown in this acticle are climate -diagrams and fills all the scientific and international criterions. The measured values were collected over a time limit of 30 years.

At first, some concepts now must be expound, and some definitions must be named:

Climate Classification

Beginning at the equator all the different climate classification are in direction to the poles (north and south). With exact contemplations, these climate classification can be found also on high mountains. Here we look at the lines of latitude. These climate classification is embossed from the radiation of the sun.

Because Australia is separated in several climate classification, we now explain all the global climate classification.


This zone is located between 23,5°N and 23,5°S. In other words: This zone is located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

In this region, the sun stands twice, in the outskirts at the tropics only once, in the year in the zenith. The sun is at its zenith when it can shine exactly vertically onto the earth's surface. During the zenith, the sunlight covers the shortest way through the earth's atmosphere and causes an elevated heat-encumbrance through it. Because the temperature-fluctuations are stronger within a day than this in the run within one year, we don't speak of a seasonal climate but from a diurnal climate here. Due to the extreme heat during all-the-year, there are always rainfalls in form of shivers and thunderstorms here, with what the actual rain-time follows the zenith of the sun.

During the summer in the southern hemisphere there are many rainfalls because the sun is in most vertically and highly position (in the zenith) between equator and Tropic of Capricorn.

In this zone you find for example Darwin in the north of Australia at the coast.

Show Darwin on the map


This zone is located between 23,5°N to 40°N and 23,5°S bis 40°S.

Distinctive marks of this zone are the tropical summers - and nontropical winter-months. They differ in winter-humid and in summer-humid. Here, many deserts are to be found.

In this zone you find for example Brisbane in the northeast of Australia at the coast.

Show Brisbane on the map


This zone is located between 40°N to 66,6°N and 40°S to 66,6°S. At 66,6° there is the Arctic Circle.

Here hot air masses from the (sub -)tropics and cold air masses from the (sub -)polar zones are mixed. Because exactly these air masses are shifted in the course of one year, we have the seasonal climate in the temperate climate-zone. Once, the polar air masses predominate mainly (in the winter) and another time the tropic air masses predominate mainly (in the summer).

In this zone you find for example Hobart at the island Tasmania in the southeast of Australia. In the northern hemisphere you find for example Germany in this climate zone.

Show Hobart on the map


(also known as: boreal climate)

In the subarctics you finds dense-grown woods, the tundra. The subarctics the arctics is followed directly.

In this zone you find no location in Australia.


In the arctic-zone the light takes back the longest way and causes a very low heat-encumbrance. The arctic climate is marked with very low temperatures and very little precipitation. Vegetation is not found or only in a little available. Because of this fauna specifically developed.

In this zone you find no location in Australia.

Types of Climate

The hygric and thermic climate-types are another division compared to the geographical situation. To understand this here you find again some explanations:

Dry Climate

A dry-climate predominates, if the annual (!) rainfall (N) is less than 300mm.

Potential Landscape-Evaporation

The potential landscape-evaporation is a calculatable value and shows this: Which volume of water can evaporate within a region? This value is dependent on waterplains (lakes/rivers) and vegatation-less grounds and plants. We differ in "humid "and "arid":

Notation monthly rainfall
Humid The rainfall (N) is more or equal the potential landscape-evaporation (pLV).
Arid The rainfall (N) is less the potential landscape-evaporation (pLV).

Hygric Types of Climate

In order to recognize whether climate is arid, semiarid, semihumid or humid, the number of humid months is counted:

types of climate
count of
humid months
arid 0 to 2
semiarid 3 to 5
semihumid 6 to 9
humid 10 to 12

Thermic Types of Climate

In order to determine to which thermic type of climate a place belongs to, the temperature fluctuation between the months at one year must be viewed. Because water (maritime) can require longer than land (continental) to the heat reception and this heat cannot released so fast as land the location of the nearest ocean is important:

Thermic type of climate description
strong maritime no temperature-fluctuations between the coldest and warmest month
maritime little temperature-fluctuations between the coldest and warmest month (Example: Kokos Island)
continental more temperature-fluctuations between the coldest and warmest month (Beispiel: Alice Springs)
strong continental big temperature-fluctuations between the coldest and warmest month

Summarizing explanation

Climate-Diagram of Perth
Map about the type of climate
Map 2 about the type of climate

In the upper left corner you find the name of the town/village the sea level the latitude and the longitude. This data help you to locate the town in the Tropics, Subtropics, Temperates, Subarctics or Arctics.

The annual rainfall (N) and the mean annual temperature are shown in the upper right corner. The question is answered whether the town is located in the dry climates.

As border of the potential landscape-evaporation (pLV), the temperature graphic chart can be interpreted: If the rainfall is shown above or equal the temperature graphic chart (blue), the month is humid. If the rainfall is shown below temperature graphic chart (bottom yellow), the month is arid. In each diagram you can assign one of the climate classification, one of the four hygric types of climate and one of the four thermic types of climate. To assign the hygric types of climate is the easiest because you only have to count the humid months. To assign the thermic types of climate is more difficult because no, little, more and big are no real numbers. You cannot calculate it. The examples of the Kokos Island and of Alice Springs repesent most contrasts.

On the side, another question now was answered: Why are the temperature and the precipitation graphic charts shown in only one graphic? Because the relation between precipitation and temperature exactly then become visible.

Please keep it in mind: This is about climate examination here. How the weather finally is during your vacation in Australia, nobody can can tell you. :-)

The way to read Climate Diagrams (Example: Darwin)

As an example of Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory in the north of Australia near the ocean, we now read a climate diagram together. The scientificall correct climate diagram looks like this::

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
°C 28.2 28.1 28.1 28.5 27.2 25.3 24.8 25.9 27.8 29.1 29.4 29.1 27.6
mm 437 331 343 88 30 2 1 8 22 79 131 214 1686

This shows a lot of information:

  • In the upper left corner you see the latitude of 12° south. Also you see the labels of the months where the summer is shown in the middle. This notation helps international comparisons of locations at the northern and the southern hemisphere. Now you know that Darwin is located in the southern hemisphere.
  • In the upper left corner you see the sea level 27m above NN. This indicates a normal view of the climate classification.
    • It would be different at a sea lever of e.g. 1000m because you must than calculate other effects like lower termeratures.
  • In the upper right corner you see the annual rainfall of 1686mm. This indicates that you find no dry climate in Darwin.
  • The 12°S shows that Darwin is located in the tropics.
  • The strongly altering rainfall during a year shows that Darwin lies in the wechselfeuchten Tropen tropics.
  • The yellow marked areas show five months arid climate in the months of winter (Attention: Southern hemisphere!) from May to September. The rainfall graph is shown below the temperature graph. Seven months the climate is humid. This is shown by the bue areas in the months of summer (Attention: Southern hemisphere!) from October to April. The hygric types of climate is consequently semihumid.
    • The humid months from November to March are shown in dark blue color. The means the rainfall exceeds the 100mm border. This is only for clear arrangement because the data is compressed.
  • There are little temperature-fluctuations between the coldest and warmest month within one year. Because of this Darwin is located in the maritime type of climate.
  • For the exact numbers, the value-table is added to the diagram. Here the concrete values can be read.

This should be enough for the basic elaboration. For the scientists, that is not enough of course, but it is enough for us. For our vacation planning, such information can be quite useful.

Climate Diagrams

Red flags are entered in the following map of Australia. For the place of every flag, I prepared a climate-diagram. Click onto the red flag in the map in order to call the desired climate-diagram:

Map of all available climate diagrams

Location with available Climate Diagrams

See also

  • Klimaklassifikationen in der Wikipedia mit der Vorstellung der Genetischen, Effektiven und Integrativen Klassifikation. (Text only available in German!)
  • Climate classification in the Wikipedia in extended point of views.
  • Documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming.

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