Percy Crowe: a forgotten pioneer quantitative geographer and climatologist

Ron Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
512 Downloads (Pure)


Climatology was for long a Cinderella specialism within physical geography. Many of its pioneers’ research was in descriptive climatology, set in the regionalism paradigm that dominated geography until the 1960s. As such, much of their work is now only rarely cited. One of those pioneers was Percy Crowe, who sought to change the nature of that descriptive work through a more robust and systematic application of statistical methods. Indeed, he was one of the very first geographers to apply standard statistical techniques and his applications – in three main projects – were the stimulus for one of his students who played a major role in promoting the use of statistical methods more widely in geography from the late 1950s on: Crowe’s influence was much wider and more influential than the citations to his climatological studies suggests. He was also prescient regarding the need for methodological/philosophical changes in human geography.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalProgress in Physical Geography
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2019


  • Climatology
  • geography
  • Percy Crowe
  • probability
  • statistical methods


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