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Science, Math, & Technology

Can a planet be warmer at its poles then at its Equator?

Posted Over 14 Years ago by Rin

[unparsed]I want to create a planet that will be warmer at the poles and colder around the middle. Is this possible?
If so, what would I have to do? My only alternative is to redraw my map, and I really don't want to do that. :cry:
Does sun position matter? I don't know...well, anything about how to do this. :?

There are 45 Replies


[unparsed]I think a planet whose axial tilt is 90 would do... at least in summer (north pole is warmer) and in winter (south pole is warmer).

Over 14 Years ago
Khajidu
 

[unparsed][quote:d90dee7832]axial tilt is 90 would do... at least in summer (north pole is warmer) [/quote:d90dee7832]

Yeh but in spring & fall the poles would point away from the sun, just like Earth's do all the time.

You could consider some [i:d90dee7832][b:d90dee7832]geothermal effects [/b:d90dee7832][/i:d90dee7832]to warm polar regions, where like maybe the crust is thinner. You could also consider some global weather patterns.

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed]What about a halo orbit between two stars? with the planet's axis of rotation parallel to a line between the two stars.

One star would warm the south pole, the other would warm the north pole.

Then your equatorial regions would be in perpetual twilight.

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed]Wouldn't the gravity from the two stars eventually rip the planet apart?
Thank you for the suggestions! :D
Perhaps I'll try the geothermal one....that should make for some interesting currents and whatnot.

Over 14 Years ago
Rin
 

[unparsed][quote:0bbbab63be]Wouldn't the gravity from the two stars eventually rip the planet apart? [/quote:0bbbab63be]All orbiting bodies experience tidal forces. But the Moon does not rip Earth apart because the distance minimizes tides. If your planet were that close to its stars, it'd be baked anyway. So no, I don't think it's a problem.

However, I just realized, as the stars revolve around each other, you'd need the planet to have a secondary rotation so the poles always point at the stars ... which I guess it possible ... as any pilot will tell you, you can experience multiple rotational axes! (It does almost put us back at the 90-deg. axial tilt scenario though.)

This binary halo thing would be a pretty awesome system!

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed][quote:876660108d="toff"][quote:876660108d]Wouldn't the gravity from the two stars eventually rip the planet apart? [/quote:876660108d]All orbiting bodies experience tidal forces. But the Moon does not rip Earth apart because the distance minimizes tides. If your planet were that close to its stars, it'd be baked anyway. So no, I don't think it's a problem.

However, I just realized, as the stars revolve around each other, you'd need the planet to have a secondary rotation so the poles always point at the stars ... which I guess it possible ... as any pilot will tell you, you can experience multiple rotational axes! (It does almost put us back at the 90-deg. axial tilt scenario though.)

This binary halo thing would be a pretty awesome system![/quote:876660108d]

What causes the secondary rotation. AIUI, planets (at lest in the solar system) seem to rotate a certain direction because their motion is related to the motion of the system -- except in a couple notable cases (Venus and Uranus) where their rotations most likely got screwed up by a collision with another planetoid during formation.

How is a planet going to develop an entire second rotation? Would a giant impact do it, or would that just throw the axis off (seeing as the primary rotation will already act like a gyroscope and resist too much change in motion)? Some weird gravitational interaction with the two stars maybe?

Over 14 Years ago
Fonori
 

[unparsed][quote:6b2dd0ff4a]What causes the secondary rotation.[/quote:6b2dd0ff4a]
Natural impact/influence to add another rotation vector?
Artificial tinkering (by advanced aliens or God(s))?

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed]What if you simply had the poles constantly move to constantly re-allign? (it happens on earth too, albeit at a much slower and extremely catastrophic rate)

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed]That phenomenon is called "precession" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precession#Of_the_Earth.27s_axis ... (unless you are talking about the drift of the planetary magnetic field? which has nothing to do with orbits & seasons).

That would be an interesting approach to warm poles & cool equator, but I think physically and mathematically the explanation would be a nightmare. You're talking about an extreme rate of precession that exactly matches the orbital parameters. It boggles my mind, but maybe you guys are better that this than I am.

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed][quote:13305ea539]much slower and extremely catastrophic rate[/quote:13305ea539]catastrophic ?

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed][quote:4aae4cb4f0](unless you are talking about the drift of the planetary magnetic field? which has nothing to do with orbits & seasons). [/quote:4aae4cb4f0]

I was indeed. That way, you'd technically have the poles be-- elsewhere, although granted, the landmasses wouldn't move with you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_reversal

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed]I don't think the magnetic field would affect the original concern, which was climates warmer at the poles than at the equater. I assume he meant rotational poles rather than magnetic poles.

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed]Yes, I meant rotational poles. Do magnetic poles have any effect on the climate of a place? :shock: :?:

Over 14 Years ago
Rin
 

[unparsed]Okay then, how about an aurora-type effect where the atmosphere around the poles is high in nitrogen and other red-leaning elements? I guess the problem here would be having the solar wind + aurora effect to have more thermal energy than the sun itself. Is it feasible?

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed]Take it slow, please. What's the solar wind + aurora type effect ?

Over 14 Years ago
Rin
 

[unparsed]Aurora borealis (and other auroras) are caused by the solar wind interacting with the earth's magnetic field.

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed]
[quote="Rin"]
Yes, I meant rotational poles. Do magnetic poles have any effect on the climate of a place? :shock: :?:


(1) If the magnetism is generated the same way Earth's is, the magnetic poles tend to be close to the rotational poles.

(2) Unless the planet has magnetism it won't have any Van Allen belts. Without Van Allen belts radiation becomes a whole different problem; also, auroras just aren't as pretty.

(3) And it's the magnetic poles that the auroras are centered on. And "the hole in the ozone layer". And so on.

Over 14 Years ago
chiarizio
 

[unparsed]I don't think so...

But, if you give it a thick enough meteor belt close enough to the planet, [i:54df2ee2cb]maybe[/i:54df2ee2cb] it would refract enough light to cool the planet around the equator- that's really hard to buy though. Perhaps if all of your meteors were crystalline (they wouldn't be ice that close to the star)- quartz or diamond maybe- they would refract enough light... meteors aren't the most stable close to a planet like that though, so it might have to be a relatively new things.

My best suggestion is to break down and re-draw your map.

Or e-mail it to me, and I'll see if I can do a quick fix for you by cutting and pasting bits around.

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed]I was dicking around waiting for my uniform to dry when I found this picture:


Over 14 Years ago
wheelerpm
 

[unparsed]
[quote="wheelerpm"]
I was dicking around waiting for my uniform to dry when I found this picture:


Wow.
(1) Neat picture!
(2) So, it proves a planet can have a pole warmer than its immediate circumpolar region; only, could that happen to a habitable planet?
(3) Why (and how) does it happen to Saturn? Where's the article?
(4) What kind of uniform?
(5) How did it get wet?

Over 14 Years ago
chiarizio
 

[unparsed]Does your world have magick in it? That can account for climate variations.

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed]"(2) So, it proves a planet can have a pole warmer than its immediate circumpolar region; only, could that happen to a [i:7caebb9f2c]habitable[/i:7caebb9f2c] planet?"

I doubt it. Much of Saturn's thermal energy comes from friction in the atmosphere from what I understand- it's too far away from the sun to have that heat overwhelm other factors.

The fact is that saturn is very cold, so these small differences can be noticable.

The heat is probably coming from two places- lower in the atmosphere where it is probably more constant around the planet (keep in mind those are "surface" temperatures), and the heat from sheer friction of these very high speed winds (which would preclude life itself, I believe).

Apparently, it's only a difference in a few degrees (so not very big), and from what I've read of polar vortexes on Earth, they only form at temperatures under -80 Celsius (I may be remembering this wrong though).

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed][quote:63b7a52eec="toff"]Does your world have magick in it? That can account for climate variations.[/quote:63b7a52eec]

Too deus ex machina for a SCIENCE forum.

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed][quote:7724633155="Xhin"][quote:7724633155="toff"]Does your world have magick in it? That can account for climate variations.[/quote:7724633155]

Too deus ex machina for a SCIENCE forum.[/quote:7724633155]


I [i:7724633155]almost[/i:7724633155] said that... but since you have, ditto.

In reality, we, as conworlders, walk a fine line of suspention of disbelief. If we deviate too much, we risk confusing the subject with too many 'exceptions' to our general rules- or worse, too many rules.

Even in a magic based con world, it's a good idea to use science for everything except a few basic rules of magic- deducing their consequences by use of logic to create complex magic systems (much like all of our science is derived from three fundamental laws- probably one, but three we can work it down to).

Adding on something arbitrary without any essential plot value (like warmer poles) is ultimately unnecessary, and just makes the world harder to reconcile.

If you had a conworld where the only strange thing was that the poles were warmer than the equator, then that might be small enough to be overlook-able. You could perhaps even bring it up a notch, and have a world where the sun emitted a special kind of light that was cold rather than hot- a 'magic' sun that cooled an otherwise hot planet. There is even at least one scifi way in which that could be done I can think of.

However if we do change too much at such a fundamental level, we also risk making a world so alien that people can't relate to it anymore.


If you post up your map, I'm sure there are some easy fixes- most people have oceanic seams in their maps on the edges- it's generally easy to slide continents off one end and onto the other

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed]I do have magic, and it's actually one of the reasons I wanted it to be colder around the equator. The throne of Adai, which is the seat of the Aerien God, and the place air currents come from, is a very cold place. And in my map, it's by the equator.

I'll post my map.... if someone will explain how you post an image. :oops:

Thanks for the help, guys. :D

Over 14 Years ago
Rin
 

[unparsed][quote:53029823a9="Rin"]I do have magic, and it's actually one of the reasons I wanted it to be colder around the equator. The throne of Adai, which is the seat of the Aerien God, and the place air currents come from, is a very cold place. And in my map, it's by the equator.

I'll post my map.... if someone will explain how you post an image. :oops:

Thanks for the help, guys. :D[/quote:53029823a9]

Could you not make it a pole? Or even just disregard the spheroid shape of the planet -- even make it a flat world. Fantasy worlds don't necessarily even have to have realistic dimensions.

Over 14 Years ago
Fonori
 

[unparsed][quote:035741131d]Too deus ex machina for a SCIENCE forum.[/quote:035741131d]
Be careful. I saw Mr. Saturday lurking to pounce on such comments.

(And it turns out he does have magic, so there ya go.)

Over 14 Years ago
toff
 

[unparsed][quote:058d355dc9="chiarizio"][quote:058d355dc9="wheelerpm"]I was dicking around waiting for my uniform to dry when I found this picture:
[/quote:058d355dc9]Wow.
(1) Neat picture!
(2) So, it proves a planet can have a pole warmer than its immediate circumpolar region; only, could that happen to a [i:058d355dc9]habitable[/i:058d355dc9] planet?
(3) Why (and how) does it happen to Saturn? Where's the article?
(4) What kind of uniform?
(5) How did it get wet?[/quote:058d355dc9]

(2) Maybe, if the habitable planet has large rings like Saturn, or something else to bounce sunlight off the equator. Like ever present clouds, or fields of sliver or glass and maybe some super volcanoes at the poles as well.

(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn

Over 14 Years ago
wheelerpm
 

[unparsed][quote:d8f7760deb="Rin"]I do have magic, and it's actually one of the reasons I wanted it to be colder around the equator. The throne of Adai, which is the seat of the Aerien God, and the place air currents come from, is a very cold place. And in my map, it's by the equator.[/quote:d8f7760deb]

Well, you could make it on the top of a very tall mountain to make it cold- however, the air currents wouldn't come from there. Fronts are much more complicated than coming from any one place.

One thing you could do is synchronize your planet's rotation with it's year. 1 day = 1 year. Thus, one side of the planet is always very cold. If you have a moon, the mood could provide some variation of day and night and a means to measure time by eclipsing the sun and reflecting the light onto the dark side so people can see.

Having one side of your planet hot and the other side cold (with no day and night or seasonal variation) would stabilize your planet's air currents as well, causing the low elevation currents to always flow from the dark side of the planet- that is, making the equator at the very center of the dark side extremely cold and roughly the source of all air currents perceived by the inhabitants.

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed][quote:5e11e0c1af="Blake"]One thing you could do is synchronize your planet's rotation with it's year. 1 day = 1 year. Thus, one side of the planet is always very cold.[/quote:5e11e0c1af]

Actually, I read that some scientists did a computerized climate model of an Earth-like planet that has one face to the sun, and they found that the climate, without the expected strong winds, would stabilize itself to having similar temperatures on both sides.

Over 14 Years ago
bloodb4roses
 

[unparsed][quote:ba6aec1bad="bloodb4roses"]
Actually, I read that some scientists did a computerized climate model of an Earth-like planet that has one face to the sun, and they found that the climate, without the expected strong winds, would stabilize itself to having similar temperatures on both sides.[/quote:ba6aec1bad]

It didn't have the expected strong winds?

I know water vapor in the air dos go a long way as far as carrying thermal energy, but how similar are we talking here?

I'd love to read that article if you can remember where you found it (and I'm sure I speak for a few others here too- it sounds very interesting). I looked around for it, but didn't have any luck.

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed]What if you had two geosynchrous moons, each casting an umbra over the equatorial region on its side? Or heck, a belt denser near the equator and less dense as you move towards either pole, possibly made of some translucent material so that light WOULD come in the same way, but there'd just be less of it.

Or has this been suggested already?

What if the planet was diamond-shaped (not totally, but rounded-diamond-shaped), so that the entire equatorial region would be at a higher altitude than the poles?

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed][quote:d5579c6a84="Xhin"]What if the planet was diamond-shaped (not totally, but rounded-diamond-shaped), so that the entire equatorial region would be at a higher altitude than the poles?[/quote:d5579c6a84]

If that's even possible, it'd have to be a huge difference. Earth is an oblate spheroid (as are most planets), meaning that it is flattened a bit at the poles and bulges at the equator, so the equator on Earth actually [i:d5579c6a84]is[/i:d5579c6a84] higher elevation, if counted from the center of the earth. But, given that the hydrosphere and the atmosphere probably deal with the same forces as everything else, they'd probably conform to the overall shape of the planet, so distance from sea level would still be more important than distance from the center of the planet in terms of air pressure and temperature.

EDIT: Just a thought -- would it be possible for a planet to rotate so fast that all of its volatiles were simply flung out into space? Imagine a still-forming protoplanet with heavy volchanic activity, leaving a huge gas plume in its wake as it violently threw off all the gasses coming out of its volcanoes. Very unlikely, I'm sure, but sounds interesting.

Over 14 Years ago
Fonori
 

[unparsed][quote:25082c1bba="Blake"][quote:25082c1bba="bloodb4roses"]
Actually, I read that some scientists did a computerized climate model of an Earth-like planet that has one face to the sun, and they found that the climate, without the expected strong winds, would stabilize itself to having similar temperatures on both sides.[/quote:25082c1bba]

It didn't have the expected strong winds?

I know water vapor in the air dos go a long way as far as carrying thermal energy, but how similar are we talking here?

I'd love to read that article if you can remember where you found it (and I'm sure I speak for a few others here too- it sounds very interesting). I looked around for it, but didn't have any luck.[/quote:25082c1bba] It was probably something along the lines of Venus. Most of the really high winds are up top in the atmosphere, down below avg wind speed is like 5 klicks. Course, with the atmospheric pressure that wind is kicking rocks around like on the ocean floor. Besides, most of our lateral winds come from the Earth's spin I believe.

Over 14 Years ago
wheelerpm
 

[unparsed][quote:6aae4ff2ba="wheelerpm"]Besides, most of our lateral winds come from the Earth's spin I believe.[/quote:6aae4ff2ba]

The energy comes from heat/pressure differences, spin only deflects the winds when they travel longitudinally.

If there wasn't any appreciable spin, the winds should be driven by the low/high pressure differences creating a steady cold front from the cold side at ground level and steady warm front at higher altitudes.

It may be that the winds are so efficient that they move the heat around the planet very effectively leaving only a slight breeze...?

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed][quote:344d0a5ed6="Blake"][quote:344d0a5ed6="wheelerpm"]Besides, most of our lateral winds come from the Earth's spin I believe.[/quote:344d0a5ed6]

The energy comes from heat/pressure differences, spin only deflects the winds when they travel longitudinally.

If there wasn't any appreciable spin, the winds should be driven by the low/high pressure differences creating a steady cold front from the cold side at ground level and steady warm front at higher altitudes.

It may be that the winds are so efficient that they move the heat around the planet very effectively leaving only a slight breeze...?[/quote:344d0a5ed6]

Yes, that seemed to be the gist of what I read.

A thought I just had was that if the equator and the poles had a differing composition, so the the equator could take in a lot of energy while the poles gave off heat, that could account for warmer poles and cooler equator. Though I'm not sure what materials would have to be used.

Over 14 Years ago
bloodb4roses
 

[unparsed][quote:f45f8cb4ad="Fonori"]But, given that the hydrosphere and the atmosphere probably deal with the same forces as everything else, they'd probably conform to the overall shape of the planet, so distance from sea level would still be more important than distance from the center of the planet in terms of air pressure and temperature.[/quote:f45f8cb4ad]

Yeah, I was afraid of that. But okay, here's a general question I'd like to ask:

[b:f45f8cb4ad]Q. With regards to the original question of this topic, is it more important to try to make the poles warmer or to try to make the equator colder?[/b:f45f8cb4ad]

Over 14 Years ago
Riven
 

[unparsed][quote:74c8e48077="bloodb4roses"]
A thought I just had was that if the equator and the poles had a differing composition, so the the equator could take in a lot of energy while the poles gave off heat, that could account for warmer poles and cooler equator. Though I'm not sure what materials would have to be used.[/quote:74c8e48077]

It would be the other way around- it's called albedo. If the equator were white (say, covered in snow), and the poles were dark in colour (covered in ash?), and there was a strong greenhouse effect, the equator would reflect visible light, thus reflecting much of the sun's energy, and the poles would absorb it, radiating heat which would be trapped.

That would still be liable to stabilize though, in short order (maybe a couple years) and the poles would become covered in ice again while the ice around the equator melted. If it were permanent and based on some reflective sand around the equator, then maybe...

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed][quote:022ded82bf="Blake"][quote:022ded82bf="bloodb4roses"]
A thought I just had was that if the equator and the poles had a differing composition, so the the equator could take in a lot of energy while the poles gave off heat, that could account for warmer poles and cooler equator. Though I'm not sure what materials would have to be used.[/quote:022ded82bf]

It would be the other way around- it's called albedo. If the equator were white (say, covered in snow), and the poles were dark in colour (covered in ash?), and there was a strong greenhouse effect, the equator would reflect visible light, thus reflecting much of the sun's energy, and the poles would absorb it, radiating heat which would be trapped.

That would still be liable to stabilize though, in short order (maybe a couple years) and the poles would become covered in ice again while the ice around the equator melted. If it were permanent and based on some reflective sand around the equator, then maybe...[/quote:022ded82bf]

Different materials can take in a larger amount of energy before they start warming up, like the difference between water and soil. I'm not talking about reflecting light, I'm saying taking in light and giving off heat.

Over 14 Years ago
bloodb4roses
 

[unparsed][quote:64d9e25558="bloodb4roses"]
Different materials can take in a larger amount of energy before they start warming up, like the difference between water and soil. I'm not talking about reflecting light, I'm saying taking in light and giving off heat.[/quote:64d9e25558]

That's specific heat- that has to do with how stable the temperature is in an area, not what the overall temperature is. An area with water (for example) absorbs more heat energy in the day and then gives off more during the night- the temperature doesn't actually become higher or lower though, on average, but both.

If it was done like that, it would still be hotter at the equator during the day- and much much hotter- it would just get colder there at night to balance that out. The average temperature at the equator would still be warmer, it would just fluctuate more wildly.

Over 14 Years ago
Blake
 

[unparsed]
[quote="Xhin"]
What if you had two geosynchrous moons, each casting an umbra over the equatorial region on its side?

Couldn't happen. Wouldn't last if it did happen.
[quote="Xhin"]
Or heck, a belt denser near the equator and less dense as you move towards either pole, possibly made of some translucent material so that light WOULD come in the same way, but there'd just be less of it.

That could work.
[quote="Xhin"]
Or has this been suggested already?

I don't know.
[quote="Xhin"]
What if the planet was diamond-shaped (not totally, but rounded-diamond-shaped), so that the entire equatorial region would be at a higher altitude than the poles?

It could be an extremely oblate spheroid. Nearly all planets large enough, that have enough rotation, are oblate; the bigger they are and/or the faster they rotate, the more oblate-spheroidal they tend to be. Earth's sphericity is oblate, but not perfectly; the gas giants are much closer to ideal oblate spheroids.
So this shape for the planet is highly plausible. The question is whether or not it would actually cause the desired result.
Does anyone remember Mesklin from Hal Clement's "Mission of Gravity"?

[quote="Fonori"]
If that's even possible, it'd have to be a huge difference. Earth is an oblate spheroid (as are most planets), meaning that it is flattened a bit at the poles and bulges at the equator, so the equator on Earth actually is higher elevation, if counted from the center of the earth. But, given that the hydrosphere and the atmosphere probably deal with the same forces as everything else, they'd probably conform to the overall shape of the planet, so distance from sea level would still be more important than distance from the center of the planet in terms of air pressure and temperature.

Sorry, just noticed Fonori's reply. I agree with all except the first half a sentence (the "If that's even possible"; I'm sure it is possible.).

Over 14 Years ago
chiarizio
 

[unparsed]The belt denser is possible. I'd like to focus on making the poles warmer.
Reflective sand around the equator is possible, but I want to have forests near/at the poles... so no ash there.

Over 14 Years ago
Rin
 

[unparsed]The simplest way would probably be to have your polar regions around about sea-level, and your equatorial regions to be very mountainous - say average 3-4km above sea level. This would be easiest if there wasn't too much land at the equator. It would also help if you could build your landmasses so that there is a very good exchange of heat between polar and tropical oceans (ie not like earth where one pole is a sea surrounded on most sides by land and the other is a continent surrounded by circumpolar sea currents).

Over 14 Years ago
Rik
 

[unparsed]My favorite explanation so far is the geothermal one. I dont know if it's viable, but it seems like a good way to get your climate to resemble pretty much anything you like. I'm using it in my conworld in the sense that on planet Tebbala, the oceans are much warmer than one would expect them to be because they are heated from below. Thus, coastal areas (particularly west coasts) are warmer than inland locations, even in summer, and since the areas near the Poles are ocean, subpolar areas are almost as warm as some of the land at the Equator (the inland parts).

Over 14 Years ago
Soap
 

It turns out any planet whose “obliquity” or axial tilt is greater than 45 degrees will be warmer at its poles and cooler at its equator.
I saw this on one of the YouTube channels about world-building; maybe Artifexian, maybe someone else whose name escapes me at the moment.

1 Month ago
chiarizio
 

Reply to: Can a planet be warmer at its poles then at its Equator?

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