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View Full Version : The Enviromancer: Providing useful resources on climate and geography



Zahhak
2013-05-10, 01:56 PM
So, I have a background that includes some geography and climatology, and it seems like some of that would be useful. Some services I can offer:


Tell you what a regions climate would be like based on your description of its location
Help you abuse Knowledge (Geography) type skills
Draw maps of your regions climate
And many more that I cannot think of at the moment


On the note of climate maps, if you want me to do that I will need an outline of your continents, some information on their position relative to each other and latitude (preferably 0*, 45* and 90*), and where mountains are. I understand you spent many many hours painstaking making your lovely continent maps, but understand that I'm going to be using paint to simply drop colors on your map to indicate where what climate goes, so all I need is a black outline on a white background. Anything else is going to end up looking weird and terrible, even for paint. So, be warned.

Color Key:
http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss99/Wo1f-man/1Key_zpsa5aab46b.jpg

Climate Key:
Tropical Wet: This climate has high average temperatures and high average rainfall. There is no noticeable dry period, or warmer or cooler temperatures, although there may be a period of lower rainfall. As an example, Singapore has this climate type and has an annual average temperature of 40*C/105*F (which is constant throughout the year) and an annual minimum rainfall of 175mm/7 inches of rain a day in Spring/Summer and an annual maximum rainfall of 250mm/10 inches a day in fall/winter. This climate type is frequently associated with rainforests.

Tropical Dry: This climate has periodic wet and dry periods. This may be that the dry periods last most of the year (ie, a Savana), the wet perid could last most of the year, the wet and dry periods could be equal length and distinct (ie, a monsoon climate), or there could be no distinct change. Using Vietnam as an example there is a four month period from May-August of high temperatures (averaging around 35*C/95*F a day) and low precipitation (100mm/4 inches a day) and a four month wet/cool period from September to December with average daily temperatures dropping from 35*C to 20*C/70*F and rainfall that 350mm/14 inches a day in the first and last month to 600mm/24 inches a day. The remaining four months are basically a transition.

This is an example of a Tropical Dry that has a distinct wet/dry period. A climate with less distinct wet/dry periods will have usually a one or two month peak where it is the dryest/wettest, and the rest of the year is a steady transition. Savana type climates will usually have a short wet period of 1, 2, or 3 months during which there is intense precipitation, and the rest of the year is very dry. That climate tends to have very hardy native grasses.

Semi-Arid: This climate is dry all year, but with infrequent and unpredictable periods of precipitation. There is a fairly precise way of defining the amount of precipitation, but basically, there is enough precipitation to allow for the growth of grasses and hardy shrubs. You should expect few trees. The difference between Semi-Arid and Tropical Dry is the predictability of the precipitation: in Semi-Arid the precipitation happens at random times and in random amounts, while in Tropical Dry the precipitation happens at predictable intervals and in predictable (usually intense) amounts. Semi-Arid climates are usually transitions between Arid and other types of climates. They come in two basic types: cold (the Mongolian and Eurasian Steppe) and hot (north Australia, and much of the South West United States)

Arid: It's a desert. I hope you can figure this out.

Mediterranean: In a Mediterranean climate there is a distinct hot and dry period in the summer, and a cold and wet period in the winter. Italy is an example, and has a summer peak of 32*C/90*F and 30mm/1 inch of rain a day, and in winter there is an average of 100mm/4 inches of precipitation a day and a temperature of 14*C/60*F. The year has four distinct seasons including a summer, winter, and two transitional periods. This climate is distinct from Tropical Dry in that the temperature is not always warm and can be fairly cold and the precipitation is usually more constant, even with distinct periods of wet/dry. Italy, Greece, and southern Spain are examples.

Humid Subtropic: The coldest month of the year has an average temperature at the freezing point of water, and the hottest month is above 22*C/72*F. It can have either a dry winter, or no distinquishable winter. Precipitation is usually predictable, but in sudden forceful bursts. The American south is a good example.

Marine West Coast: This climates sound unusual because they are north climates that should be subarctic, but are too warm. They are virtually always found on the west coast of a continent and are kept warm largely by warm ocean currents. They have warm, but not hot, summers and cool, but not cold, winters, and have a fairly narrow temperature range and usually lacks a dry season. An expression geographers sometimes use is "mild for the latitude". London is an example. It has a peak of 255mm/10 inches of rain a day in December, and a low of about 170mm/7 inches a day in September. And the temperature range is fairly flat between 20*C and 30*C/70*F to 86*F. Most of Europe is this climate

Humid Continental: Typified by large ranges of temperature that include warm to hot summers and cold to severely cold winters. There is usually a large range in precipitation, which is concentrated in the spring/summer. Eastern Europe, south Russia, and most of the American Midwest are this climate. Omaha, for example, ranges in temperature from 27*C/80*F in July to -7*C/20*F from December and Janruary, and ranges in precipitation from 115mm/4.5 inches in May to a low of 26mm/1 inch from December to February.

Subarctic: Cold all year, but has period of relative warmth. Usually has four distinct seasons, a summer, winter, and two transitions. Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory Canada is an example of the Subarctic climate. It has a summer time peak temperature of about 15*C/70*F and a winter low of -20*C/-4*F. The precipitation ranges from 10mm/0.4 inches of precipitation a day in early spring to a summer high of 40mm/1.6 inches a day. The difference between this climate and an arid is the wide range of temperatures throughout the year, and the difference between this and tundra is the frequent periods well above freezing.

Tundra: This climate is cold all year and usually has low precipitation. However, this climate has one month a year where the temperature every day is above freezing. During this month the permafrost melts and there is a single period of plant growth. The species that survive here are usually grasses and evergreen trees. Think Siberia and north Canada

Icecap: Like a tundra, it has low average temperature, but unlike a Tundra, the temperature is never above freezing for a complete month. You should expect no plant growth.

Highland: Notice how Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania goes from 32*C/90*F at the base to snow at the top? That's why this climate type exists: mountains and other areas of high elevation change climate type very quickly, and sometimes in erratic ways.

Now taking requests.

Baj
2013-05-10, 06:39 PM
Saw the map you made in the other thread. It was really nice! Just wanted to recommend putting this link in your signature so it doesn't get lost. :smallsmile:

The Mentalist
2013-05-10, 09:16 PM
If I provide you a map of Middle Earth could you tell me what the weather would look like?

Zahhak
2013-05-10, 10:04 PM
Saw the map you made in the other thread. It was really nice! Just wanted to recommend putting this link in your signature so it doesn't get lost.

Thank you for the compliment and for reminding me I meant to do that.


If I provide you a map of Middle Earth could you tell me what the weather would look like?

About that... No. See, a big part of figuring out the climate of an area has to do with where prevailing winds are coming from, which is mostly about the latitude of the continent. As far as I'm aware no where in the source material is it said what the latitude of Middle Earth is, or even what the size of the planet is. So, about the best I could do is make wild guesses.

But, if you know something I don't know, I could.

The Mentalist
2013-05-10, 10:08 PM
But, if you know something I don't know, I could.


Most scholars operate under the assumption that it's located about where Britain is now on Earth, it would make sense under the mythologies that inspired his work and some of his later writings.

Zahhak
2013-05-10, 11:47 PM
With that, I guess I could.

Jeff the Green
2013-05-13, 06:09 AM
So, I actually have a question about my map you did. (For other people's reference, it's below.) We'd discussed that there'd be an area (or possibly two) that would roughly resemble the Atacama desert with almost non-existent precipitation, but there's no arid climate regions on the map, so I'm a bit confused.

http://i565.photobucket.com/albums/ss99/Wo1f-man/Workystuff_zps4561d551.png

Xallace
2013-05-13, 08:47 AM
This is an incredibly useful resource, thank you so much for providing!

I have a couple of questions relevant to a campaign setting (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266572):

1. Assuming an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star, how would global climate differ from Earth if there were significantly more seawater? The largest landmass would be about the size of Brazil, let's say.

2. Let's say Egypt were a distinct island, but retained location, Nile river, etc. The Western quarter of the country is dominated by mountains, we'll say about equivalent in size to the Appalachians. Would any of those changes mean anything?

Deepbluediver
2013-05-13, 09:49 AM
I've been imagining a setting for a D&D style where the entire planet is pretty much covered in thick jungle.

The in-game reason for this is that the core of the planet is home to a sleeping (nature/life-based) diety, which is what supports the thickness of flora and forms the bottom layer of the food pyramid, so we can have herds of D&D style creatures that don't eat themselves to extinction.

There is, of course, the "it's just magic" excuse, but I would like to make the setting at least passibly believable, and I was wondering what sort of effects this might have, or what sort of unusual topography/climate you might need.

Obviously there are probably going to be a lot of storms to move water around, so that the environments will likely range from tropical jungle to temporal rainforest (like Alaska's southwest coast) near the poles. Temperate forests will be further inland so they can be a little drier.


I realize this is a very open-ended question so any feedback at all is good, but generally speaking, is this sort of thing at all realistic? What sort of weird or quirky factors might it require or generate? Can I have actual contintents or does it all need to be little islands? etc etc etc.

Zahhak
2013-05-13, 10:11 PM
So, I actually have a question about my map you did. (For other people's reference, it's below.) We'd discussed that there'd be an area (or possibly two) that would roughly resemble the Atacama desert with almost non-existent precipitation, but there's no arid climate regions on the map, so I'm a bit confused.

That has to do with prevailing wind direction, which changes in regular bands of latitude. I thought the bottom of your map went further south than it does, so the prevailing wind is coming from the other direction then I thought.


1. Assuming an Earth-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star, how would global climate differ from Earth if there were significantly more seawater? The largest landmass would be about the size of Brazil, let's say.

All of the principle stuff would be the same. The only difference would be differences of where different climates are. If the majority of the landmasses are in the tropic zones, most of the planet would be jungle. Further out it would depend on latitude and mountains. One thing though, you won't have a lot of deep frozen areas like Siberia.


2. Let's say Egypt were a distinct island, but retained location, Nile river, etc. The Western quarter of the country is dominated by mountains, we'll say about equivalent in size to the Appalachians. Would any of those changes mean anything?

It would be a lot drier. The reason North Africa is largely desert is because the prevailing winds (which would be the ones bringing in precipitation) are coming from the east. So any precipitation is from the Persian Gulf and dumped in Arabia. By throwing mountains between Egypt and the Persian Gulf, you make a serious desert. That's where we're getting Atacama desert type situation, where you have distance and mountains. Except the north stretch of Egypt would still regularly get precipitation, and the summer there would still be a massive torrent of rain.


I realize this is a very open-ended question so any feedback at all is good, but generally speaking, is this sort of thing at all realistic? What sort of weird or quirky factors might it require or generate? Can I have actual contintents or does it all need to be little islands? etc etc etc.

This actually isn't that hard of a question, surprisingly enough. If you take a college course in climatology you will be asked questions a lot like this all the time. Basically, you don't want continents. You want island chains, or at most a Greenland sized area. Any mountains would be tropical regions, because otherwise one side of the island will be lush forest, and the other would be more of a grassland. If you want ideal areas for a thick rainforest, you want a chain of volcanic islands along the equator. This basically guarantees a lot of rain fall and enough nutrients in the soil to support a rainforest.

Oh, and hoofed animals need to be avoided. Hooves destroy jungle ground.

Ormur
2013-10-24, 02:47 PM
If you're still following this I'd love to get some input on this world map: https://www.dropbox.com/s/p15ydsofromoqj3/blank%20world.bmp

I made my own guesses for climate but I don't have your background. The world is comparable to Earth and the black lines are at 15 intervals. The brown are significant mountain ranges.

Let me know if you need any more info.

Zahhak
2013-10-24, 04:38 PM
I get emails when someone other than me posts in this thread, don't worry.

I've had a busy day. I'll get it done, you're just going to need to give me a few hours.

Ormur
2013-10-24, 09:09 PM
Thanks, there's no rush, just glad you're willing to give some input.

Ormur
2013-10-31, 07:04 PM
How are you progressing? Not that you're in any way obliged, just curious. :smallsmile: