Posted by: Rob Viens | October 1, 2012

Plants, Precipitation and Plates

The second week of spring found Darwin and the Beagle cruising the “white bay” – presumably conducting survey work.  For Darwin and some of the other men on board, it was a rough few days.  So much so, that Darwin did not write in his diary for three days.  On September 30th he wrote:

“We have been for these three days cruizing about the mouth of the harbor.— The two latter were boisterous, & there was a considerable swell on the sea.— I, as usual very sick & miserable; my only comfort is, that two or three of the officers are but very little better & that like to myself they always feel the motion when first going out of harbor.” (Sept 28/29/30)

Things did not get much better on October 1st as a hail storm shook the Beagle:

“The morning threatened us with heavy weather; but it blew over in a hail storm. We have anchored near to a cliff, upon which the Captain intends to erect some land mark as a guide on entering the harbor.” (Oct 1)

The climate of Bahia Blanco is classified as “humid subtropical” – similar to conditions in the southeastern United States and southeastern China. The summers are wet and relatively hot, while winters dry and cool (though typically above freezing).

Humid Subtropical Climate Zones (from Wikipedia Commons):

humid subtropical climate regions

Climatograph for Bahia Blanca, showing monthly temperature (°C) and rainfall (mm) – from Wikipedia Commons.

climatograph for bahia blanca

Today (October 1, 2012) was a pretty nice day in Bahia Blanca – sunny with temperatures in the 70’s (°F).  For the lastest weather see the Weather Underground banner below.

Click for Bahia Blanca, Argentina Forecast

By the way – the climate classification system shown in the map above is one of the most widely used in the world – the Köppen Climate Classification System. The system is based on temperatures and precipitation (totals and seasonal), and corresponds with vegetation zones – bioclimatic zones.

The system was developed shortly after Darwin’s death in the late 1800’s by the Russian/German climatologist Wladimir Köppen. Köppen was interested in all sorts of issues related to climate – including the study of past climate – a topic he took up with his son-in-law. A son-in-law who would go on to revolutionize geology by making the radical suggestion that continents actually moved across the face of the Earth.  He called his idea continental drift – the precursor to the modern theory of plate tectonics.  His name – Alfred Wegener.



  1. […] the Köppen Climate Classification (see Plants, Precipitation and Plates), both the Falklands and the Pacific Northwest are considered “maritime” climates.  […]

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