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I'm thinking of using this as a method of separating a planet's technological and cultural evolution, then having a sudden clash as the more advanced one becoming able to cross the storm belt. This would allow the tech to be about 50 years apart at the outset, one being at, say, the 1830s, and the other the 1890s.

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    $\begingroup$ As other have said, a storm would be very cool to separate your planet's hemispheres, but probably isn't realistic. Luckily there are other barriers. One could be the planet's surface temperature. It could be so high that your sentient beings could only survive at the poles; the equator would be too hot. But once they develop refrigeration / air conditioning, it would finally be possible to venture towards the equator, and eventually to the other pole. $\endgroup$ – BrettFromLA Jan 18 '18 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ Are you open to alternative suggestions? The atmosphere in each hemisphere is composed differently, so it is toxic to the inhabitants of the other hemisphere? Say nitrogen levels? The atmosphere is kept separate by wind currents, much like it is on earth, only more so becaues there is no land mass around the equator. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Jan 19 '18 at 14:39
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Yes: none of your land is near the equator

Where are the strongest sustained winds on Earth? In the roaring 40s (actually more like the Furious 50s) in the Southern Hemisphere. Why? Because there is no continents to to stop them! Winds pick up sustained speeds driving around the Earth in a circle with only a narrowing in the Straits of Magellan and a couple tiny islands to block them.

Desolation Island (or Kerguelen Island, if you don't like being dramatic) receives constant winds at at least 35 km/h, with gusts up to 150 km/h being commonplace.

But you want these winds to be in the tropics, so lets put all the continents in the Northern and Southern hemisphere, at least 20 degrees off of the Equator. Now lets see what the winds do

enter image description here

The southern edge of the Hadley cell in both hemispheres is going to push winds in the same direction, westerly. Now on real live Earth, there are all these Africas and Indonesias and Panamas and stuff in the way. So the wind driven currents hit these continents and deflect in complex patters that lead to an Equatorial counter current in the Ocean which serves to attenuate the moving air masses. Without any continents in the way, the oceans will be whipped up to speedy 6 knots or maybe more, and the winds will move along at a hearty clip.

But that's not all! First off, if you take a look at currents on Earth, there are plenty of hot and cold ones meeting each other at the Equator.

enter image description here

Now imagine that the continents are sufficiently far away, and positioned just right so that cold currents never make it to teh center of the equatorial band. Lets say that the waters from 10 N to 10 S never mix with cold currents.

These waters, permanantly circling the Earth under a tropical sun, would get hot and stay hot. Hmm...what is it that hot oceans do again?

enter image description here

Instead of only having seasonal hurricanes in either hemisphere, you now have permanent hurricane breeding grounds in all your oceans in the 10 to 15 North and South ranges.

Hurricanes need both hot water and circulating currents to form. So plop some good sized islands, a Java or Japan, down right at about 10-15 N to form current eddies right on the edge of our hot equatorial circulating current. In the lee (to the West of, in this case) these islands, hurricane formation conditions will exist year round.

Now you have high sustained winds, frequent hurricane force gusts, and frequent actual hurricanes!

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    $\begingroup$ The problem with large storms like this is they are self destructive. Churning water at the surface of a large body of water tends to pull cold water up from the depths which cuts the storm from its own fuel supply. Sheer winds in this setup tend to inhibit storm formation as well. You are right that thia scenario has the most likely chance of creating storms like this, but they would be spaced apart and not a permanent storm setup. $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Jan 19 '18 at 2:53
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    $\begingroup$ Even temporary storms would be enough to separate two continents, if they are frequent and strong enough. No captain is going to pilot their ship into the "Ring of Storms" unless they know for a fact that the profit is worth the risk. $\endgroup$ – Arcanist Lupus Jan 19 '18 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ @arcanistlupus - in the same way the carribean is avoided, right? Even spaced as tightly as they could be, there would be more non-storm time than storms. Waters need to warm... $\endgroup$ – Twelfth Jan 22 '18 at 4:32
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Similar to this questions answer : How to create the eternal storm?

First, I like the premise...would make for an interesting world.

Second...The answer is (unfortunately) not likely and potentially not possible, though the setup of the globe could lend itself to this model. Weather trends towards equilibrium and without a constant source of large amounts of energy being dumped into the system, it would eventually calm down. Actions like erosion is ultimately the winds energy being translated to kinetic and thermal energy, or evaporation of water due to wind, all take energy away from the system.

Jupiter is an interesting example as you can readily see a planet wide storm somewhat like what you are asking for here, but Jupiter possesses one trait that allows it...no land or ocean to drain the systems energy. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for us living on rocky planets) this so far appears to be a trait only seen on gas giants.

I'll see if I can find a scenario where this could happen on a globe with land, but no promises...there is the fringe potential that all ocean around the equator along with a process that feeds heat into this system, but usually the equator is where the water warms not cools (If you wanted to have the effect, an explanation along these lines might make a pseudo science usable for a story)

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Yes but not in a way that is useful for your story.

Jupiter has permanent storm systems circling the planet, so it's definitely possible. Unfortunately where one storm system ends another begins.

The storms on Jupiter are also orders of magnitude stronger than the storms on Earth. Furthermore even modern technology wouldn't be enough to cross a storm of that magnitude.

It's a cool idea though. I don't thing your readers would begrudge you handwaving the storm's existence if it makes for a good story.

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Wow. Neat concept. Depends on how much you want to manipulate your world and make it non-earth-like.

Suppose a planet were caught at a lagrange point between two equal stars, at the Goldilocks distance. And make it tidally locked with a thick atmosphere. Both hemispheres would be in continuous light, but the dark ring would be in eternal darkness. I suspect one would get tremendous air currents at this juncture, and there would be considerable storm activity. It would be a zone that looses heat to space, sandwiched between the two hemispheres that both receive a lot of heat. Add a ring made of high mountains around it (some effect of having two stars), and I can't imagine how this region would be anything BUT unstable.

So you have three factors dividing the societies - permanent darkness, permanent stormy weather, and mountains.

However, societies on both sides would be in permanent daylight unless you had a super-large moon circulating the planet creating an eclipse every 'day'. The night, however, would be short-lived.

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(I'm going to preface this with the fact that I'm no where near an expert in this field, and the following statement is a wild conjecture)

It doesn't seem possible to have a stable, localized storm on a rocky planet in the way that you want it.


But, you have something that greatly tips the scales of storytelling in your favor...

A cool idea!


A reader or audience's ability to suspend disbelief is directly proportional to how 'cool' your world, or a concept in it, is (see: Star Wars Jedi). I personally think your idea is cool enough that it would be fine to not worry about its possibility. If it does turn out to be possible, that's just a bonus.

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