What is a Climograph?

David White

Ah, the weather. People are fascinated by it, talking about it, predicting it and examining it for trends. Scientists are obsessed with it, creating legions of charts and graphs to explain, account for and predict the weather. Among the many types of graphical representations of weather patterns and indicators is the climograph.

Antarctica is one of the world's regions that is cold year-round yet receives a large amount of precipitation.
Antarctica is one of the world's regions that is cold year-round yet receives a large amount of precipitation.

The climograph is what it sounds like — a graph that shows the climate of a place. Specifically, a climograph shows the monthly temperature and precipitation of a certain place in the world at a given period of time. Most climographs show this information over an annual span.

A climograph is a dual-purpose graph, showing two different kinds of information. A bar graph shows how much precipitation a given place receives during a period of time. A line graph shows the temperature conditions for the same place during the same period of time.

A climograph for a city in the American Midwest might show higher precipitation in the winter months, when the temperature is lower, and the reverse for the summer months. This makes sense, because it describes the weather patterns of such places as observed over hundreds of years. If you're looking at a climograph of, say, Omaha, Nebraska, you would expect to find temperatures in the teens in January and precipitation in the dozens of inches. In places such as this, the height of the bars on the bar graph will be lower in the summer, while the curve of the line graph will be higher; in the winter, this graphical representation will be reversed. Not surprisingly, cities in the Southern Hemisphere show the reverse trends, with higher temperatures and lower precipitation in January and February and lower temperatures and higher precipitation in July and August.

Some places have a climograph showing bar graph heights and line graph heights that correspond. The rainforests of South America, for example, have higher temperatures at the same time that they have higher precipitation. Some places are always hot, and rainforests record huge amounts of precipitation each year. The converse of this can be seen in Siberia or Antarctica, places that are cold all the time, yet receive significant amounts of precipitation year-round.

Weather scientists use a climograph to predict precipitation for various places. An examination of more than one climograph can identify weather trends such as global warming as well. Farmers may also consult a climograph when planning planting strategies.

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Discussion Comments


good info. very helpful for my social studies/ geography homework


Although this site explains what a climograph is, it fails to give an example of one. Also they use histograms, not bar charts to show precipitation. Finally they aren't really useful for illustrating climate change. I don't think this page needs a reference to climate change.


I knows that a climograph is a graph that shows information about the temperature and precipitation of a place over time. The climograph is very useful to everybody because it gives you a picture of the weather for each month. I have always thought that climographs are so cool and interesting!


I am a second grade teacher who tutors 2nd - 5th graders. One of my 4th graders asked me what a climograph was and I wasn't sure. We found your website and both found this information very helpful as well as interesting. It's true--you do learn something new each day, even if you're a teacher!


John Ingle

Kingston, TN

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