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    Canonfire :: View topic - Does an extra-long Summer mean a very mild winter?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Does an extra-long Summer mean a very mild winter?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 15, 2004
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    Fri Jan 14, 2005 3:45 pm  
    Does an extra-long Summer mean a very mild winter?

    Most countries, if they're in the temperate zones of the Northern or Southern hemisphere, will have seasons of equal length.

    The Flanaess is pretty much a Northern hemisphere temperate zone but its seasons are not of equal length -- its Summer is extraordinarily long.

    First of all, why does this happen? Magic? The Sun rotates in a ellipse (hey, Spelljammer says the sun rotates around Oerth!)? Am I thinking too much?

    Second, does this mean a very mild winter? Would it snow much in the temperate zones of the Flannaess during winter? (My game is in the Geoff region and it's at the heart of winter at the moment.)

    Thirdly, does this mean the regions closer to the equator are ridiculously hot (far hotter than like regions on Earth) and the polar regions aren't so cold and frozen as one might expect?

    I don't know much about this topic, and was just wondering if this long Summer of Oerth is a unique invention of this setting, and if so, how does it effect the whole scheme of things.

    Thanks.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 19, 2001
    Posts: 21
    From: Lyon, France

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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:20 am  

    There is no simple answer in this case.

    First you must not forgot that the axis tilt of Oerth is greater than Earth's one. Which means that during summer, northern Oerth is hotter than its Earth counterpart, but at the time its northern part received less sun than on earth due to the greater axis tilt (northern Ius land, for example will get less sun than Canada ...), so there is a greater climatic variation on Oerth than on Earth.
    During winter, i would say that a major part of northern oerth endures a harsh winter, snow is not uncommon on the domain of Greyhawk, and if you go north winter will be harsh (ie. climat like tundra in winter).
    To resume, the same land in central northern part of Oerth (Domain of Greyhawk) will get a greater climatic variation than an similar region placed on earth (ie. hotter summer and colder winter), all due to the axis tilt of the planet.
    On the same hand, i think that Oerth southern hemisphere will be a lot hotter than its earth counterpart, and the south pole will be very reduce in comparison.

    That is for the physical part. (on my part, i do not use the spelljammer's info on Greysphere, in my campaign "Sun rotating around Oerth" is a common belief like it was in our ancient time, but a few knows that it is the reverse)

    But then there is the magic part, like the hot Dramidj currents which gives the ekbirian and zefirite lands a temperate climate opposed to cold ones of the Barbabians peninsula, the magically modified climate over the elven land of Celene, which certainly as an influence on the surrounding area, same can be said on the Bright desert climate, ...

    As said in the beginning, thing aren't simple. To learn a little of the climate of specific Flanaess area, you can use the Weather charts of the 83 boxed set, not taking into account the to extremes values.

    Hope that's help a little, and that it isn't to confuse as english is not my primary language.
    CF Admin

    Joined: Oct 14, 2003
    Posts: 586
    From: Rel Astra

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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:21 am  

    You guys may be interested in this...

    Greyhawk Tides

    The first time I read it, I was blown away...
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 15, 2004
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    Sat Jan 15, 2005 7:02 pm  

    Thanks for that guys Smile

    Wow, Celene, the little handmaiden, is in truth bigger than the queen of the night, Luna.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
    Posts: 674
    From: Bronx, NY

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    Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:59 am  

    The central Flanaess has an extended summer "because". No specific climactic explanation was ever given. For the most part, it would have to do with local conditions. A particular combination of air and water currents.
    Axial tilt would not do it. It does indeed cause greater climactic variation, but it also tends to produce seasons of equal length. That long, warm summer will cause equally long, cool winters. You would need to combine a long close approach to the sun with a short far transit to get the extended summer and shortened winter. And barring some extremely alternate physical conditions, that is impossible. (That is, either you need a new system of stellar physics or you need magic. I'd say go with magic.)
    What is more likely is that the Flanaess is just going through a warm cycle. The earth has had several similar periods, such as during the great Norse expansions. Climate and ecology changes naturally over the millenia. It even varies year by year, such as when we get an El Nino or El Nina in the Pacific. In the case of Oerth, it is just warm and mild right now.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
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    Wed Jan 19, 2005 8:55 am  

    I like Samwise's explanation, however you want to go.

    IMC, winters are almost as long and harsh as the summers, encroaching on late autumn and early spring with fair regularity.

    I think the "real" explaination is all metagame. EGG wanted more "playable" weather.

    I find winter highly "playable" so, while keeping EGG's extra long summer, I add an extra long winter. Sam's theory of axial tilt would, I think, nicely account for this. Happy

    GVD (who was raised with lake effect snows and loves the ice and cold)
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    GVD
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    From: Bronx, NY

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    Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:38 am  

    Axial tilt isn't a theory, it's the real world!
    I just don't remember the precise details, so I don't want to make an error stating something as absolute. Still, I'm pretty sure that while the axial tilt means we have dramatic seasonal differences, it is the elliptical orbit that is the real deciding factor. As I noted, a real super warm summer caused by that will yield an equally savage winter unless you are in the tropics.

    And I agree, I think it is pure meta-game. More good weather means easier adventuring. If you really need more than that, just pick up a book on meteorology.


    Samwise (who wasn't raised with lake effects snow and wishes he were in GH with 6 months of mellow summer and no more than 2 months of mild winter)
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 19, 2001
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    From: Lyon, France

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    Wed Jan 19, 2005 1:59 pm  

    Samwise, you are totally right, axis tilt is not a theory, it is physics.
    Warmth is maximum when sun ray are perpendiculars to the planet surface, and minimum when they are nearly tangential.
    And the axis tilt is the main if not the only reason of climatic changes along the months. Distance to the sun have a little influence, at least on Earth.

    For example, on the summer solstice, Earth is at its farthest distance from the sun, still it is the hottest season on the North hemisphere, and during winter solstice, Earth is at its nearest point from the sun. The thing is due to the axis tilt, sun rays are perpendiculars to the surface on the north hemisphere during summer and nearly tangential during winter.

    So an increased axis tilt will mean larger climatics changes, hotter summer and cooler summer on the northern hemisphere and true the farthest north you go.

    Still it does not explain, long summer and short winter, maybe we can imagine that Oerth course around the sun has an egg shape, instead of the standard ellipsoid shape. I'm not sure if it could be physically possible but it is a magical world, eh !
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    From: Bronx, NY

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    Wed Jan 19, 2005 8:26 pm  

    See, I knew I'd get effects confused. I've done tons of ecology, but virtually no meteorology.
    But I was right about seasonal reciprocity. Which is why I still suggest an global warm period instead of mucking with orbital physics and axial tilt. Go with the simplest explanation and leave it at that.
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