Middle-Earth's Climate Mapped in Scientific Study

Middle-Earth's Climate Mapped in Scientific Study

Lord of the Rings Mordor

Written in the voice of Radagast the Brown, and available in both Elvish and Dwarvish, the new study maps the climate of various locations in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

Scientists from the University of Bristol have documented the various climates in J.R.R. Tolkien's world in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Not only does it research the fictional world in a scientific way, but it also presents it in an in-universe way. Written from the voice of Radagast the Brown, a wizard greatly knowledgeable about plants and beasts, the paper discusses results of a climate model simulation of Middle-Earth.

According to the study, Mordor shares a climate with Texas and Los Angeles, and the Shire's climate is similar to that of Lincolnshire and Leicestershire in the UK. The study goes beyond mapping similarities of climates in our world to climates in Tolkien's world; scientists describe the effect of heat and drought on Mordor's vegetation and the rain-shadow effects of the Misty Mountains. Scientists used a climate model similar to the ones the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report used.

"Because climate models are based on fundamental scientific processes," Richard Pancost, director of University of Bristol's Cabot Institute, said, "they are able not only to simulate the climate of the modern Earth, but can also be easily adapted to simulate any planet, real or imagined, so long as the underlying continental positions and heights, and ocean depths are known."

Tolkien was undeniably a great world builder, and judging by the paper, the writers are fans of Tolkien's work. Co-author Dan Lunt said the work was "a bit of fun," but plenty of the work was serious.

"A core part of our work here in Bristol involves using state-of-the-art climate models to simulate and understand the past climate of our Earth," Lunt said. The scientists compare evidence of past climate change to better predict the climate of the future.

The paper is available to read in English, Elvish, and Dwarfish.

Source: Nature World News

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I pay taxes so they can study the climate of fictional places and write reports in fictional languages.

albino boo:
I pay taxes so they can study the climate of fictional places and write reports in fictional languages.

There's not really much point explaining this to you, but I'll give it a quick go.
Basically, much of their research (and research of many other sciences) is done on a theoretical basis. It's called 'research' because they are searching for things which are not always evident.
[to clarify; RESEARCH; a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding]

In this particular case, they wanted to use a fake place in order to test out climate simulations. You really are not thinking outside of the box are you...

Go read the Daily Mail. I think that's more your thing.

It's what governments do: Waste money on shit that doesn't matter and refuse to spend money on things that do...or they could just give the money that would be wasted back to the people so they can decide for themselves if they care how hot it gets in Middle Earth.

Li Mu:

albino boo:
I pay taxes so they can study the climate of fictional places and write reports in fictional languages.

There's not really much point explaining this to you, but I'll give it a quick go.
Basically, much of their research (and research of many other sciences) is done on a theoretical basis. It's called 'research' because they are searching for things which are not always evident.
[to clarify; RESEARCH; a detailed study of a subject, especially in order to discover (new) information or reach a (new) understanding]

In this particular case, they wanted to use a fake place in order to test out climate simulations. You really are not thinking outside of the box are you...

Go read the Daily Mail. I think that's more your thing.

Oddly enough I do understand the concept of research because I have done some with degree in industrial chemistry. They could spent their and my money more effectively by doing research on the real world. Doing a climatic study on non existent can produce no valid results because there is no way of comparing the real and the predicticted results. Why not pick on the climate described in wuthering heights because the settings being real you can compare the model to the real. In short its cheap publicly attempt at my expense.

roseofbattle:

The paper is available to read in English, Elvish, and Dwarfish.

Surely you meant to say "English, Sindarin, and Khuzdul".

Altogether not that interesting really, though I don't think Tolkien imagined Forodwaith to be quite as inhospitable as they described. If this guess as to what parts of Beleriand were destroyed in the War of Wrath is correct that means Gondolin would have had a climate similar to Finmark (the northernmost part of Norway) and Angband would have likely been covered in glacier.

That would have been before the world was made spherical by the Downfall of Númenor though. A flat Earth probably completely ruins the whole climate model. Still, it's fun to imagine Morgoth as the Super Lich King.

albino boo:

Oddly enough I do understand the concept of research because I have done some with degree in industrial chemistry. They could spent their and my money more effectively by doing research on the real world. Doing a climatic study on non existent can produce no valid results because there is no way of comparing the real and the predicticted results. Why not pick on the climate described in wuthering heights because the settings being real you can compare the model to the real. In short its cheap publicly attempt at my expense.

They applied the model they developed to Middle Earth and wrote a fake report about it for fun.

Furthermore the University of Bristol's endowment is only about 10% of it's income. So as long as these scientists spent less than 90% of their time on this fake Middle Earth climate study they didn't waste any of the UK taxpayer's money on it.

albino boo:
I pay taxes so they can study the climate of fictional places and write reports in fictional languages.

These sorts of things are actually applicable to driving interest in science as well as thought exercise for model-based science. Considering it was a university paper, I bet a lot of undergrads learned A LOT during the process as well.

MCerberus:

albino boo:
I pay taxes so they can study the climate of fictional places and write reports in fictional languages.

These sorts of things are actually applicable to driving interest in science as well as thought exercise for model-based science. Considering it was a university paper, I bet a lot of undergrads learned A LOT during the process as well.

Why not study the real world where you can check the prediction of the model against real world results. A study that has unverified results is waste of money, because you cannot know if the model was correct or not.

Eldritch Warlord:

albino boo:

Oddly enough I do understand the concept of research because I have done some with degree in industrial chemistry. They could spent their and my money more effectively by doing research on the real world. Doing a climatic study on non existent can produce no valid results because there is no way of comparing the real and the predicticted results. Why not pick on the climate described in wuthering heights because the settings being real you can compare the model to the real. In short its cheap publicly attempt at my expense.

They applied the model they developed to Middle Earth and wrote a fake report about it for fun.

Furthermore the University of Bristol's endowment is only about 10% of it's income. So as long as these scientists spent less than 90% of their time on this fake Middle Earth climate study they didn't waste any of the UK taxpayer's money on it.

Why is ok to spend ANYONES money on their personal fun. I don't spend my clients money on fun, they get what they pay for. What is so special about them that have the right to spend other peoples money given to them for the purpose of climate research on fun? The UK is paying £47 billion in interest every year, roughly twice the education budget, there isn't any money left over for fun.

albino boo:

Why not study the real world where you can check the prediction of the model against real world results. A study that has unverified results is waste of money, because you cannot know if the model was correct or not.

While I agree with you that many grant-funded projects can be more relevant and applicable to the real world, the occasional project like this is good for drumming up interest in science and publicity for the institution.

If this project inspires even one Tolkien fan to go into climate studies, then it was worth it.

Eldritch Warlord:

roseofbattle:

The paper is available to read in English, Elvish, and Dwarfish.

Surely you meant to say "English, Sindarin, and Khuzdul".

More like "English, English in (verrry bad) Sindarin Tengwar and English in Anglo-Saxon Runes".

Nice idea, losing marks for the execution. :D

Reading to the end, the author points out that the Middle Earth simulations were unfunded and done in his spare time.

Perhaps that should be mentioned in the Escapist article, to avoid misunderstandings.

You probably should read the whole paper before making a fool of yourself.

The chap who did this was unfunded and did it in his spare time.

messed up*

albino boo:
There isn't any money left over for fun.

That is the beauty of fiat money: It never runs out.

That's kinda interesting, but I shudder to think that they actually got a government grant to do this.

EDIT: Never mind.

Man, those must have been some bored scientists...

The guys into science are huge nerds, who knew?

albino boo:
I pay taxes so they can study the climate of fictional places and write reports in fictional languages.

I'm pretty sure those researchers also pay taxes. Who's to say the amount of money that they used on this didn't come out of their wallets, and the wallets of their families? Isn't it a bit self-centered to assume you had anything at all to do with the funding of this research? See, that's how stupid the "omg my taxes pay for this stuff" method of thinking is. Not only do you not know how much money they actually spent, you also don't know if a single cent, pence, whatever of your tax money was used for that. And if that's not enough, they also have budgets that if left unused, will just be smaller the next time around which may not be enough that time. Seriously.

Actually on-topic: Always fun to read about people doing what sounds like really monotonous boring work, but then managing to put an interesting twist on it like this. If nothing else, it seems like excellent practice for real-world application of the same kind of data. They are after all talking about interpreting old climate data to predict future changes, so what better way to practice than seeing if your system's rules and methods hold up when based on a fictional universe?

Now that I think about it, if they do hold up, that just means Tolkien put -that- much more thought into his world-building, if he actually created not only all those languages, races and lore behind them, but also a solid eco-system. Blimey...

The fact that the University of Bristol's computing facilities had free time to do this sort of thing doesn't speak well of their reputation.

i wonder how much they changed from the books, or if they didnt how long until the model breaks apart and ends up in eternal drought or something?

also considering that Tolkien actually did base his world sort of on UK and that the study finds results that fit it is quite interesting.

The texts are not in the middle earth languages but rather English using different fonts. I have no idea what mode is the tengwar paper written in and the Dwarvish looks to be written in Hobbit style runes not Anglo Saxon or the rune script described in LoTR appendix. Next time i suggest they use this:
http://tengwar.art.pl/tengwar/ott/start.php?l=en

 

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