Middle Earth's Climate Mapped in New Study Available in Elvish
As hot as Hades, maybe not, but a new study by climate scientists from the University of Bristol says both Texas and Los Angeles share a climate similar to Middle Earth's Mordor.
Written in the voice of Radagast the Brown, a wizard and colleague of Gandalf especially attuned to nature, the paper recreates J. R. R. Tolkein's famous world with the help of a climate model similar to those used in the United Nation's recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
"Because climate models are based on fundamental scientific processes, 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," explained Richard Pancost, director of the university's Cabot Institute.
The Shire, the hobbit's idyllic home and the starting point for the journeys described in both the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit," experiences a climate akin to that of the UK's Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, the researchers found.
The study goes on to describe the prevailing winds the elves used to sail from the Grey Havens and the dry climate east of the Misty Mountains - a result, they say, of the mountains casting a rain-shadow over the region.
Though co-author Dan Lunt admits the work was "a bit of fun," there is an element of seriousness to the exercise.
"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," he said. "By comparing our results to evidence of past climate change, for example from tree rings, ice cores, and ancient fossils of plants and animals, we can validate the climate models, and gain confidence in the accuracy of their predictions of future climate."
Previous research has shown that models are able to piece together climates ranging from the last Ice Age to a much warmer era some 50 million years ago. Using these same models, the researchers explain, it's possible to know which direction the planet is heading in.