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Lord of the Rings Science

The Climate of Middle-Earth 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the climate-science-everyone-can-get-behind dept.
sciencehabit writes "One does not simply model the climate of Mordor; unless, of course, you are the University of Bristol's Dan Lunt, who has created a climate simulation of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Using supercomputers and a model originally developed by the U.K. Met Office, his study compares Middle-earth's climate with those of our (modern) and the dinosaur's (Late Cretaceous) worlds. The Middle-earth model reveals that the Shire — home to the Hobbits — would enjoy weather much like England's East Midlands, with an average temperature of 7C and about 61 cm of rainfall each year. An epic journey to Mount Doom, however, would see a shift in climate, with the subtropical Mordor region being more like Los Angeles or western Texas." The full academic paper is available in English, Elvish, and Dwarfish.
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The Climate of Middle-Earth

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  • Re:"Elvish" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sun (104778) <> on Saturday December 07, 2013 @03:39PM (#45628197) Homepage

    OT, but I couldn't resist :-)

    Actually, non Arabic natives could gain from doing precisely that. The cursive nature of the writing, coupled with the amount of characters that are only differentiated by the number of dots they have, make it a relatively hard language to learn to read. The multiple forms each letter take depending on its position in the word don't help either. In fact, some elementary schools in Israel teach spoken Arabic by using Hebrew letters, not bothering with trying to teach reading or writing.

    As someone who went through the motion of pretending to try to learn literary Arabic in school, I actually don't think that's a bad idea. Get some vocabulary and grammar going, and only then dump trying to decipher the text on students. After all, that's also the order in which native Arabic speakers do it.

    As for Hebrew, there are some madmen who tried something very similar. See, for example, []. Needless to say, it did not gain any significant traction.


  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday December 07, 2013 @04:52PM (#45628625) Homepage Journal

    Well, C.S. Lewis had an interesting take on this. He obviously believed in miracles, but he thought of them as becoming "naturalized", in the way a foreigner becomes a naturalized citizen in his adoptive land, and is subsequently bound by the laws of that land. So when the *supernatural* occurs (e.g. drowning the northwest corner of the continent at the end of the First Age), the consequences should follow *naturally*.

    I bring this point up with my fantasy writing friends. Just because your world *has* miraculous things in it doesn't mean *everything* should be a miracle. People should have common-sense responses to miraculous things. If wizards throw lightning bolts in battle, then the cavalry shouldn't charge in a tightly packed formation until they're right at the line of battle.

    George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire conspicuously soft-pedals magic, but ironically a lot of the world of those stories fails the naturalization test. For example kind of society depicted is dependent upon consistently generating a massive agricultural surplus, something that's not compatible in my opinion with decade-long winters. But I gave up after only a million words into the stories, so maybe that's explained elsewhere.

One good suit is worth a thousand resumes.