Last night we saw the ending of one of the most highly praised, shows and TV history Game of Thrones. So I don’t.
I don’t know. Hopefully they stuck the landing. The dismount was a bit wobbly, but we’re, not here to talk about the ending. We’re, not even really here, to talk about the show, because let’s be honest.
There’s, two types of people that are reading this article right now there’s, the people who were all yeah Game of Thrones Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones and the people who were all oh. I’m, so tired of hearing about this show I couldn’t, give a fuck, which I get.
I totally get that I used to be that guy and then my wife got me into it. So this is all her fault, but one thing that is interesting about the show I’ve always thought was interesting. Is the climate of Westeros, the continent where the show takes place on and for those who don’t watch? One of the most impressive things about the show is how richly detailed this world is.
They’ve got this backstory going back. Hundreds of thousands of years before even the books start, and one of the little quirks about this world that they’ve created for this show, is that the seasons are completely unpredictable.
The summers can last for years, and they never know when it’s going to end, and then winter is going to begin and at the beginning of this show they’ve had a particularly long summer. So there are many people who are preparing for an especially long and brutal winter winter is coming now.
Obviously this is a fantasy series. You got ta, suspend your disbelief just a little bit because there are dragons and zombies and Giants and magic and all that kind of stuff. But is there a scientifically plausible explanation for these weird seasons all right, so it should be said right off the bat.
I am NOT like a game of Thrones expert or anything. I’m, more of a casual viewer. I haven’t, read the books or anything like that. So if I get anything particularly wrong here, feel free to you know correct me in the comments.
I say that, like you, guys, have ever been shy about correcting me, but I do think this is an interesting topic, because looking at the climate of fictional worlds can kind of give us a better insight into the kind of climates we might see out there.
On other planets, in the universe and even a little bit of insight on our own climate, alright, so let’s just start there. Let’s! Look at our own climate! What causes the seasons that we experience here on earth and it basically comes down to three things: the tilt of the earth, the elliptical orbit in the Lankin age cycles the earth tilts at about 23 degrees, which is the main reason we have these seasons.
So at one part of the year the northern hemisphere is more facing the Sun and then it rotates around the Sun. At that point, the southern hemisphere is more facing the Sun and that’s. Why it’s summer in the southern hemisphere in December in January, this is pretty basic stuff.
You probably learned it in grade school, that’s for the elliptical orbit. That actually plays a very small part in our seasons. Our orbit is almost perfectly circular: it’s only very slightly elliptical, with the perihelion actually occurring, usually when the southern hemisphere is facing the Sun, so that’s, why the southern summers are a little bit warmer than the northern summers and, Lastly, are the Milankovitch cycles, which are named after serbian geophysicist and astronomer Milutin Milankovitch? I think I got that right.
He proposed this back in the 1920s and he’s, taken to account different variations and processions, and the earth’s tilt in orbit over thousands of years, which changed the climate over time. For example, the earth’s.
Tilt tends to sort of wobble a little bit over thousands of years, which can lead to various different periods of ice ages, but these changes occur over long like geologic time spans nothing. You would experience in one human lifetime, of course, the yearly seasons that we experience here on earth are kind of what defined the year for us back in the day.
You know we actually changed the calendar over and over again, so that it matched the seasons. This kind of makes me wondering gameofthrones: how do they know how long a year is, if the seasons last multiple years, I don’t have an answer to this.
I’m seriously asking so anyway, with all that in mind. Let’s, jump into what could be causing alarm term and erratic and unpredictable seasons that they see in Game of Thrones scenario. Number one is that the planet is simply in a highly elliptical orbit around the star and when I say highly elliptical, I mean compared to Earth’s nearly circular orbits, so just by a few degrees.
If it was like highly little itical like a comet or something like that, then the temperature changes would be too much to ever support life, but the just as yet passes a little bit closer to the Sun each year in its orbit, and this would work to Create seasons, and if it was especially in a further out orbit, unsane may be a bigger star with a wider habitable zone.
It might create multiple year seasons before it came back around but again when they Disick’s perience. That is really long here. The bottom line is in this scenario: the seasons would come and go in regular intervals, which kind of kills the whole game of Thrones things so ixnay on that.
One of the many things to be thankful for about the moon is the way it has stabilized our orbit, which is one of the hundreds variables that has made Earth’s such a paradise that we should pave over and put up a parking lot.
It’s, so important that a large moon is one of those things that we’re looking for is we’re, looking at four planets that might Harbor life, we’re looking for a planet with a Very large, stabilizing moon planets without a large stabilizing moon would probably see their access tilt and wobble quite a bit which would throw their climate into all kinds of disarray in the world of Game of Thrones does have a moon, but we don’t Know exactly how large that moon is and how much of an effect it might be having on the stability of its axis and the mythology, and the show says that there used to be a second moon, but it flew too close to the Sun and it burst.
Apart and created a whole bunch of dragons, like you do, of course, just like the elliptical orbit, these changes would occur regularly and slowly over long periods of time. So this doesn’t really fit the bill.
Unless and – and this is, this is kind of a weird idea – what if there was like an unbalanced mass inside the planet like if the core was slightly off-center, and maybe it would get stuck in some different thicknesses of mantle or outer core and then from time To time it kind of gets dislodged and it shifts the center of mass and then the whole planet kind of tilts a little bit differently in sudden ways.
Maybe, but I seriously doubt that something, but that would continue for over billions of years for a life to form on a planet because it seems like that would either tear itself apart or eventually stabilize one way or another.
So if that kind of planetary configuration was possible, maybe but I highly doubt that that’s possible double star systems are irregular, trope in sci-fi movies, and they do exist out there in the universe, so figuring out how a planet might orbit around a Double star system is a an interesting thought experiment and there are three types of orbits the planets could take around these double stars.
A p-type orbit involves a planet orbiting around both stars that sort of spin around really close to each other. In the center s-type orbits involve double stars that spin around each other from a great distance, allowing the planet to spin only around one of the stars and then their chaotic systems when the planets kind of weave in and out between the stars.
So, in order for a p-type orbit to exist over time either the two stars that have to be really close to each other or the planet would have to be really far away far outside any kind of habitable zone.
Now there’s, a million different kinds of variations at play here, but the stars orbited close enough to each other. I imagine the center of mass would stay the same, so any kind of plan circling around it was just experience, regular seasons, just like any other planet.
Now s-type orbits get interesting because, theoretically, if the planet was between the two stars, it would be absorbing energy from the other star, basically getting twice as much energy as it’s, normally getting from the other side of the star which would heat it Up severely on one side and cool it off more on the other side, and since the stars are revolving around each other, the length of the seasons would vary because by the time the planet gets around to its original position in its orbit.
The two stars have moved in relation to each other, but there are two major problems here. The first is just that, even if this was the case, that would still be happening on a regular schedule that they could figure out so and the other problem is in order for that planet to have a stable orbit.
The other star would have to be so far away that it probably wouldn’t, be effecting this planet in terms of its climate. Very much now, I suppose, as a situation where it’s just perfectly balanced, so that it does affect the planet just enough that it wobbles in and out closer and further away, but still inside of its habitable zone and there’s.
Also, the scenario that the star that the planet is orbiting around is actually much much bigger than the other star and the other star has more of an elliptical orbit and flies in and kind of messes things up when it comes around.
But still that would take place over huge timescales and it would be regular timescales so, like I said there’s, a million variables in this scenario and the last type of orbit, the chaotic orbit were the planet kind of weaves in and out between.
The stars is almost impossibly unlikely because that’s, so unstable that the planet would eventually get thrown into. One of the stars are just ejected from the solar system altogether talk about fire and ice anyway.
This is a fun scenario to think about, but ultimately it doesn’t matter, because there’s only one Sun in the sky on Game of Thrones. Of course, one of those stars could be a brown dwarf that doesn’t emit light so then that wouldn’t have an extra star in the sky, but now all those other problems – wouldn’t still exist.
So, okay, what if the known world of the game of Thrones is actually on a moon revolving around a large jupiter-like planet? And this is actually interesting because the the orbit around that planet would cause the moon to like fluctuate in and out in that habitable zone which might cool and warm the planet, especially if the planet has more of an eccentric orbit.
That would introduce all kinds of chaos and randomness in there. That would make these kinds of seasons unpredictable interesting, but a jupiter-like planet would dominate the sky, which is not there in Game of Thrones.
So we talked a little bit about the access of the planet wobbling, but what if it was like a crazy 90 degree tilt like Uranus, ass Uranus, really is the weirdo of the solar system and not just because it’s named after your exit Hole but because it actually has a 90 degree tilt, which means that twice a year, the poles are what’s facing the Sun living on a planet like that, basically means you’d, be in day half the year and night.
Half the year, which is obviously not the case in Game of Thrones eyeball worlds. The names given to tidally locked planet to the orbit around their stars much the same way that the moon is tidally locked with earth and we see the same side of it.
All. The time we imagine the planets of the trap is one system to look like this. This means that one side of the planet is always hot and one side of the planet is always cold, which means you would definitely have a land of always winter.
It also means that one side of the planet is perpetually in the daytime, and the other side is always at night, which is not the case. Game of Thrones variable stars are stars whose energy and intensity vary over time.
These can fluctuate wildly or they can come and go in regular cycles. Our own Sun actually fluctuates about 0.1 percent every 11 years, and there are two types of variable stars: there’s, extrinsic stars and intrinsic stars.
Extrinsic stars are basically normal stars. Without that much variation in their actual intensity, but there’s, stuff, passing in front of it like gas clouds, so that it actually dims from where we’re standing, intrinsic variable stars, actually have their luminosity change in various ways.
For various reasons, so whether we’re talking intrinsic or extrinsic there’s, plenty of evidence that stars can vary their output in random and chaotic ways. Obviously, if it’s in extreme ways, it would be too extreme for life to form, but there’s.
Nothing saying that a star couldn’t, you know vary randomly but mildly enough for life to survive. So this could be a thing. However, this would require the plan to have an almost vertical axis so that it wouldn’t tilt and create seasons, and – and this is possible, Venus is only like two degrees and Mercury & # 39.
S is like point, zero, three degrees, so this could be a thing. The last one I’ll talk about here is by far the most boring, but probably the most plausible, and that is pure and simple. Just weird geography, weather and climate cycles are some of the most difficult things to accurately predict there’s.
Just so many variables involved ocean currents, evaporation cycles, feedback loops. The list goes on and on I mean here on earth we’ve. Had random climate fluctuations spring up from just regular natural phenomena? You know from ice ages that last for thousands of years, the ice ages it lasts for just a few years, so much of our climate is based on ocean currents.
In fact, one of the big concerns that they have about Arctic warming is that it might shut down the North Atlantic Current. This is a cycle of water that flows around the North Atlantic, basically, a giant conveyor belt.
Bringing warm water up from the Caribbean along the coast of North America, where it cools and sinks, then swings back around down Europe, where it actually increases the temperature they’re up to ten degrees Celsius.
This is also known as the thermohaline current, because it’s, partly that temperature and it’s, partly about salt, as the water warms in the southern part of the hemisphere, the water evaporates and that increases its salinity.
And then, when it goes up north and it cools, it goes down into these chimneys into the lower depths of the ocean, and it continues there for a little bit until the salt content kind of equals out. And then it comes back up again.
What they’re worried about is too much of that fresh water, that’s, locked away in the Arctic ice melts down into the ocean. It could sort of desalinate those currents preventing it from sinking down and shutting down the current altogether.
This would prevent all that warm water from traveling north and cause some extreme cooling, possibly leading to another ice age. Perhaps the world of Game of Thrones has a particular. You know ocean geography that shuts down a thermohaline current at regular but unpredictable intervals.
That leads to long and brutal winters yeah. It might just be that simple or it might just be magic because you know magic or it could be. A combination of any of these things that I’ve talked about it’s.
It’s all possible, and this is an uncharted thought territory there’s, an actual scientific paper that was released by actual climate scientists on April 1st 2013, yes April, Fool’s Day where they covered this in depth.
You know it might have been a joke, but they took the subject very seriously and applied their. You know, climate equations to it and everything there’s, a link to it down in the description. If you want to check it out, it’s, pretty cool and by the way I do think that looking at Game of Thrones through the lens of climate is very appropriate.
Because I & # 39. Ve always thought that the show and is a metaphor for climate change. You know the whole various powers jockeying to control the world. While there’s, an existential threat looming out there that nobody’s, paying attention to are taking seriously.
You know it’s, it’s. It’s, not even a thinly veiled metaphor: it’s right on its sleeve. There’s, a fantastic scene in season 7, where John is upset and frustrated because nobody believes them and nobody’s, taking seriously the threat of the night King and the White Walkers, and all that antarians response.
I think sums things up nicely. How do I convince people? You don’t know me that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all good question. I know it’s. A good question. I’m looking for an answer.
People’s minds, aren’t made for problems that large White Walkers the night King army of the Dead. It’s, almost a relief to confront a comfortable, familiar monster. Like my sister yeah, exactly it’s kind of human nature, to focus on small inconsequential problems when faced with big giant ones, with no simple solutions, the show may be ending.
But hopefully this message lives on. We are lucky to live on such a stable planet, but it’s, not infinitely stable. At some point, we’ve, got to put our petty squabbles aside and face real grown-up existential problems like climate change or any the other number of you know great filters.
We seem to be putting in front of ourselves cuz it’s. Up to us there ain’t, no aria to save us. The weather patterns and climate loops that we experience on a daily basis are really just physics at work and they affect our daily lives.
And if you want to have a better understanding of how the physics affects your everyday life, you can check out the physics of the everyday course. I’m brilliant org. You know true story. This is one of my favorite courses on brilliant because it really shows you the physics behind the things that you encounter every single day, things that you take for granted and never think about, like refrigerators, that it shows how that works and then gives you a whole New understanding of the things around you and really this is what brilliant does best.
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