The world is a big place and that means that there are literally hundreds of weather or climate zones encompassing the globe. The weather where you are can be very different from that of your friend who lives only a few hundred miles away. Just imagine people who live thousands of miles away and how different their weather is. Give the many different types of weather around the world, it made sense to classify them into groups putting together those with similar climates. The first attempt to do this was, believe it or not, Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, and scientist that lived from 384 B.C. to 322 B.C.
Yep. Aristotle came up with a way to classify weather. Pretty amazing, I know!
Aristotle believed that the earth's hemispheres, Northern and Southern, could each be divided into three zones; torrid, temperate, and frigid "and that Earth's five circles of latitude (the Arctic Circle (66.5° N), Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° S), Tropic of Cancer (23.5° N), equator (0°), and Antarctic Circle (66.5° S)) divided one from another." Because these climate zones are classified based on latitude—a geographic coordinate—they're also known as the geographic zones.
The Torrid Zone - Aristotle believed that the areas centered around the equator were to hot too be inhabited. The region we now call Tropic was what he called the Torrid Zone. Both areas shared the equator as one of their boundaries; in addition, the northern torrid zone extended to the Tropic of Cancer and the southern border was the Tropic of Capricorn.
The Frigid Zones - These are the coldest places on Earth, without summer and generally covered with snow and ice. These two regions are located at the Earth's poles. Therefore, each one is bound by a single line of latitude; the Arctic Circle in the Northern Hemisphere and the Antarctic Circle in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Temperate Zone - In between the torrid zone and frigid zone lies everything else. The rest of the world then was classified as being temperate. The temperate zone has features from the other two. In the Northern Hemisphere, the temperate zone is bound by the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle while in the Southern Hemisphere, the boundaries are the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle. The biggest feature of the temperate zone is that it has what we know as the four season; spring, summer, fall, and winter. it is also considered to be the climate of the Middle Latitudes.
There were few other attempts to classify climate until the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Then, German climatologist Wladimir Köppen developed a tool for presenting the world pattern of climates; the Köppen climate classification. Although Köppen's is the best-known and most widely-used system, Aristotle's ideas weren't far wrong. "If Earth's surface was completely homogeneous, the map of world climates would very much resemble that theorized by the Greeks; however, because Earth isn't a homogeneous sphere, their classification is considered too simplistic." And believe it or not, Aristotle's three climate zones are still used today when generalizing the overall weather and a large "swath of latitudes.
I hope you've enjoyed learning about Aristotle's climate classification system. Those Greeks really had it going on in more ways than just language! I hope you'll join me tomorrow for another life lesson from my dear friend and teacher, The Dharma Frog. Until then, I wish you all much