Climatic indices and classifications in relation to the biogeography of southern Africa

  • R. E. Schulze
  • O. S. McGee
Part of the Monographiae Biologicae book series (MOBI, volume 31)


For land-based plant communities four divisions of potential restraints on growth exist, viz. climatic, topographic, edaphic and biotic restrictions (Watts 1971). Of these four, climatic restrictions are usually the most important — certainly for biogeographical and ecological studies on a subcontinental scale — for plants depend directly or indirectly on the atmosphere for certain fundamental materials, for their successful growth and reproduction. Different species, for instance, vary in their minimum requirements for, and in their tolerance of, particular climatic conditions and these conditions therefore play a major role in determining where a particular plant can or cannot exist (Tivy 1971).


Potential Evapotranspiration Climatic Index Moisture Index Incoming Radiation Thermal Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acocks, J. P. H. 1953. Veld Types of South Africa. Bot. Survey of S.A. Memoir 28:1–192.Google Scholar
  2. Adamson, R. S. 1938. The Vegetation of South Africa. Brit. Emp. Veg. Com., London.Google Scholar
  3. Airy Shaw, H. K. 1947. The vegetation of Angola. J. Ecol. 35:23–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buys, M. E. L. & Jansen, J. P. 1970. Die praktiese aanwending van die Köppen-klassifikasie. Special publication of Society for Geography, Stellenbosch, S. Africa.Google Scholar
  5. Carter, D. B. 1954. Climates of Africa and India according to Thornthwaite’s 1948 Classification. Laboratory of Climatology, Publ. Climatol. 7:455–474 (and maps).Google Scholar
  6. Coetzee, B. J. & Werger, M. J. A. 1975. A west-east vegetation transect through Africa South of the Tropic of Capricorn. Bothalia 11:539–560.Google Scholar
  7. De Candolle, A. 1855. Geographie botanique raissonnee, ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernat le distribution geographique des plantes de l’epoque actuelle. 2 vols. Masson, Paris.Google Scholar
  8. De Villiers, G. du T. 1975. Reënvalonderskeppingsverliese in die Republiek van Suid-Afrika -’n Streekstudie. Unpubl. Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. Orange Free State, Bloemfontein.Google Scholar
  9. Driscoll, D. M. 1959. Temperature and Rainfall Distribution in Mozambique. Thesis, Penns. State Univ., Univ. Park, Pa.Google Scholar
  10. Drummond, A. J. & Vowinckel, E. 1957. The distribution of solar energy throughout Southern Africa. J. Meteor. 14:343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edwards, D. 1967. A plant ecology survey of the Tugela Basin. Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Afr. 36:1–285.Google Scholar
  12. Fabricius, A. F. 1969, cited in Schutte, J. M. 1971. Die onttrekking van water uit die newellaag en lae wolke by Mariepskop. S.A. Dept. Water Affairs, Div. Hydr. Res., Techn. Note, 20:1–21.Google Scholar
  13. Gamier, B. J. & Ohmura, A. 1968. A method of calculating the direct shortwave radiation income of slopes. J. Appl. Meteor. 7:796–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gonçalves, C. A. 1970. Contribuição para o estudo do balanço hidrico e da caracterização climatica da Provincia de Moçambique. Servico Meteorologico de Moçambique Mem. 55:1–11.Google Scholar
  15. Gonçalves, C. A. 1971. Balanço hidrico e caracterização climática da Provincia de Moçambique. Servico Meteorologico de Moçambique Mem. 69:1–19.Google Scholar
  16. Granger, J. E. 1975. The plant succession and some related factors in Catchment IX, Cathedral Peak Mountain Catchment Research Station. Unpubl. Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.Google Scholar
  17. Grisebach, A. 1866. Die Vegetations-Gebiete der Erde, übersichtlich zusammengestellt. Petermanns Mitt. 12:45–53.Google Scholar
  18. Griffiths, J. F. (ed.) 1972. Climates of Africa. World Survey of Climatology. Vol. 10. Elsevier, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  19. Hare, F. K. 1954. The Boreal Conifer Zone. Geog. Studies 1:4–18.Google Scholar
  20. Holdridge, L. R. 1959. Simple method for determining potential evapotranspiration from temperature data. Science 130:572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Holdridge, L. R., Grenke, W. C, Hatheway, W. H., Liang, T. & Zosi, J. A. 1971. Forest Environments in Tropical Life Zones. Pergamon Press. Ch. 2:4–17.Google Scholar
  22. Howe, G. M. 1953. Climates of Rhodesia and Nyasaland according to the Thornthwaite classification. Geogr. Rev. 43:525–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jackson, S. P. (ed.) 1961. Climatological Atlas of Africa. CCTA/CSA, Lagos-Nairobi.Google Scholar
  24. Kerfoot, O. 1968. Mist precipitation on vegetation. For. Abstracts 29:8–20.Google Scholar
  25. Knoch, K. & Schulze, A. 1957. Niederschlag, Temperatur und Schwüle in Afrika. World Atlas of Epidemic Diseases. Vol. 2. Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  26. Koppen, W. 1900. Versuch einer Klassifikation der Klimate, vorzugsweise nach ihren Beziehungen zur Pflansenwelt. Geogr. Z. 6:593–611; 657–679.Google Scholar
  27. Koppen, W. & Geiger, R. 1936. Handbuch der Klimatologie. Borntraeger, Berlin. 5 vols.Google Scholar
  28. Kreft, J. 1972. Fog in Rhodesia. Clim. Infor. Sheet 41. Dept. Meteor. Serv., Salisbury.Google Scholar
  29. Linsser, C. 1867. Die periodischen Erscheinungen des Pflanzenlebens in ihrem Verhaltnis zu den Warmeerscheinungen. Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, Series 7:11.Google Scholar
  30. Louw, W. J. & Kruger, J. P. 1968. Potential evapotranspiration in South Africa. Notos 17:3–14.Google Scholar
  31. McGee, O. S. & Hastenrath, S. L. 1966. Harmonic analysis of the rainfall over South Africa. Notos 15:79–90.Google Scholar
  32. Major, J. 1963. A climatic index to vascular plant activity. Ecology 44:485–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mather, J. R. 1959. The moisture balance in grassland climatology. In H. B. Sprague (ed.): Grasslands, pp. 251–261. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci., Washington.Google Scholar
  34. Mather, J. R. 1962. Average climatic water balance data: Part 1, Africa. Laboratory of Climatology, Publ. Climatol. 15:115–270.Google Scholar
  35. Mather, J. R. 1974. Climatology: Fundamentals and Applications. McGraw-Hill, London.Google Scholar
  36. Mather, J. R. & Yoshioka, G. A. 1968. The role of climate in the distribution of vegetation. Ann. Assoc. Am. Geogr. 58: 29–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Monteith, J. L. 1965. Evaporation and environment. Proc. Symp. Expl. Biol. 19: 205–234.Google Scholar
  38. Nagel, J. F. 1956. Fog precipitation on Table Mountain. Quart. J. Roy. Met. Soc. 82:452–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nagel, J. F. 1962. Fog precipitation measurements of Africa’s southwest coast. Notos 11:51–60.Google Scholar
  40. Penman, H. L. 1956. Evaporation: An introductory survey. Neth. J. Agric. Sci. 4:9–29.Google Scholar
  41. Pole-Evans, I. B. 1936. A vegetation map of South Africa. Bot. Surv. of S.A. Memoir 15:1–23.Google Scholar
  42. Poynton, R. J. 1971. A silvicultural map of Southern Africa. S. Afr. J. Sci. 67:58–60 and map.Google Scholar
  43. Prentice, A. A. 1965. Potential evaporation in Rhodesia. Notes on Agric. Met. 13:1–7, and maps, statistics.Google Scholar
  44. Rattray, J. M. & Wild, H. 1960. Vegetation map of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In: Atlas of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Fed. Govt. Printer, Salisbury.Google Scholar
  45. Schulze, B. R. 1947. The climates of South Africa according to the classifications of Koppen and Thornthwaite. S. Af. Geog. J. 29:32–42.Google Scholar
  46. Schulze, B. R. 1958. The climate of South Africa according to Thornthwaite’s Rational Classification. S. Af. Geog. J. 40:31–53.Google Scholar
  47. Schulze, B. R. 1965. Climate of South Africa. Part 8, General Survey. S.A. Weather Bur. 28. Govt. Printer, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  48. Schulze, R. E. 1975a. Mapping potential evapotranspiration in hilly terrain. S. Afr. Geog. J. 57:26–35.Google Scholar
  49. Schulze, R. E. 1975b. Incoming radiation on sloping terrain: A general model for use in southern Africa. Agrochemophysika 7:55–61.Google Scholar
  50. Schulze, R. E. 1975c. Catchment evapotranspiration in the Natal Drakensberg. Unpubl. Ph.D. Thesis, Univ. of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.Google Scholar
  51. Spain, E. S. 1971. Calculated radiation in Zambia. Clim. Data. Publ. 16:1–18. Dept. Meteorology, Lusaka.Google Scholar
  52. South African Weather Bureau. 1968. Solar radiation and sunshine. S.A.W.B. 32. Govt. Printer, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  53. South African Weather Bureau. 1963–1973. Annual radiation reports. Govt. Printer, Pretoria.Google Scholar
  54. Thompson, B. W. 1965. The Climate of Africa. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  55. Thornthwaite, C. W. 1948. An approach towards a rational classification of climate. Geog. Rev. 38: 55–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Thornthwaite, C. W. 1952. Grassland Climates. Laboratory of Climatology. Public. Climatol. 5:1–14.Google Scholar
  57. Thornthwaite, C. W. & Hare, F. K. 1955. Climatic classification in forestry. Unasylva 9:50–59.Google Scholar
  58. Tivy, J. 1971. Biogeography: A Study of Plants in the Ecosphere, Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  59. Torrance, J. D. 1972a. Radiation over Rhodesia. Notes on Agric. Meteor. 22. Dept. Meteor. Serv., Salisbury.Google Scholar
  60. Torrance, J. D. 1972b. Malawi, Rhodesia and Zambia. Ch. 13, 409–460, In: Griffiths, J. F. (1972).Google Scholar
  61. Van Riper, J. 1971. Man’s Physical World. McGraw-Hill, London.Google Scholar
  62. Walter, H. 1972. Der Wasserhaushalt der Pflanzen in kausaler und kybernetischer Betrachtung. Ber. Dtsch. Bot. Ges. 85:301–313.Google Scholar
  63. Walter, H. & Lieth, H. 1960. Klimadiagramm-Weltatlas, Fischer, Jena.Google Scholar
  64. Ward, R. C. 1975. Principles of Hydrology. 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill, London.Google Scholar
  65. Watts, D. 1971. Principles of Biogeography. McGraw-Hill, London.Google Scholar
  66. Whitmore, J. S. 1970, The Hydrology of Natal. Symp. Water Natal, Durban.Google Scholar
  67. Whitmore, J. S. 1971. South Africa’s water budget. S. Af. J. Sci. 67:166–176.Google Scholar
  68. Wicht, C. L. 1971. The influence of vegetation in South African mountain catchments on water supplies. S. Af. J. Sci. 67:201–209.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk bv Publishers The Hague 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. E. Schulze
  • O. S. McGee

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations