Within the Köppen Climate Classification System, highland (H) climates are defined by the effect altitude has on a location’s climate. As such, these climates are located from the tropics to the poles. The most obvious climate characteristic that is altered in these climates is temperature. Annual and monthly temperatures are lower because of adiabatic cooling, and due to the fact that the atmosphere at high altitudes contains less moisture. A drier atmosphere decreases the amount of heat energy that can be generated by surface absorption of longwave counter-radiation from the atmosphere. This process also enhances nighttime cooling making diurnal temperature ranges quite extreme. Precipitation of highland climates can sometimes be enhanced because of orographic lifting. More commonly, H climates tend to have lower quantities of precipitation than adjacent low elevation sites because cold high altitude air holds less water vapor and the rainshadow effect.
Online Köppen Maps
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