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Biography of Wladimir Köppen (1846-1940)


Meteorologist and climatologist German of Russian origin, born in Petersburgo in 1846 and died in Graz (Austria) in 1940. He was the first scientist in delimit the climatic zones of the Earth's surface (Koppen classification), and their technical and theoretical contributions of nature played a prominent role in the development of the climatology and meteorology during more than 70 years.

Koppen remained in Russia until the twenty years in the area south of Crimea, where his father worked as a member of the Academy of Russian Sciences. In 1864 he began his studies at the University of St. Petersburg, where he specialized in Botany; his continuous trips to Crimea noted marked changes in vegetation as it moved northward, feature that allowed him to get a very broad geographical perspective. Two years later he moved to the University of Heidelberg for his doctoral thesis on the relationship between the development of the vegetation, which she completed in 1870.

During the Franco-Prussian war in which served in the ambulance corps, after which he returned to Petersburgo as an Assistant at the Central physical Observatory. In 1874 he moved to Hamburg as director of the division of atmospheric telegraphy, naval meteorology and storm surveillance systems, at the German Naval Observatory. In 1884 he made a world map where drew belts of existing temperature between the polar and Equatorial, distributed according to the average monthly temperatures. In response to atmospheric physical parameters, Köppen developed a climate classification in which distinguished five distinct zones to which corresponded some characteristic values of precipitation and temperature; classification since then has been used as the basis for the rest of post classifications throughout the 20th century.In 1919 he retired from his post at the Hamburg Observatory and withdrew to the city of Graz (Austria) five years later. In 1927 he accepted along with Rudolf Geiger co-publishing of a work published in five volumes, with the title of Handbook of climatology, which came to be completed near the date of his death.


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