Folks, I'm in a bit of a jam.
I am writing a fictional future history to support a series of post-collapse science fiction stories set ca. 2560 Gregorian. The first story, The Borax Road Affair, has been accepted for publication in the forthcoming anthology After Oil 3: The Years of Rebirth from Founders House Publishing.
This world, which I'm calling the "Circumpolar", is a set of civilizations that have grown up around the "Polar Sea" (their name for the now ice-free Arctic Ocean, which has become the maritime crossroads of the world.) Now that I'm writing the history, mainly in order to provide migratory and linguistic backgrounds for the populations of the Circumpolar, I need to track some kind of believable climate development over the centuries.
What I'm looking for is a whole-earth, system-based climate modelling program. It needs to work with our planet, not with an invented planetary surface.
I'm having rotten luck finding useful resources - mostly it's just well-intentioned (but useless to me) sites that will allow me to Calculate My Carbon Footprint. My carbon footprint is irrelevant to this project. I need the planetary picture for centuries out.
Another very real problem: the underlying climate models on the few climate modelers/calculators that I've been able to find do not allow midstream parametric insertions that can modify the run.
What I need, particularly
I'd prefer an online modeler if possible. If I need to run it offline, preferably something written in Python or Java.
I do not need predictive confidence and power. I just need scientific plausibility.
Specifically, I need to be able to provide:
a worldwide, decade-by-decade simulation of climate
in which population normally acts as a dependent variable but can be externally modified at will, at a particular time (e.g. "OK, I can do a plague here and a famine there...")
in which carbon dioxide and methane emissions due to human activity are treated as dependencies of population, but, again, can be tweaked by introducing time (and possibly geospatial) parametric coefficients based on economy and technology
I realize it's not too realistic, but I'd ideally also like a model which can handle such difficult topics as:
Icecap changes, especially Greenland, but also Antarctica.
Sea level changes.
Ocean anoxic event potential as atmospheric CO2 content increases.
I am working within very explicit constraints here, and I would deeply appreciate it if answers and comments respect those constraints.
Constraint #1: Certain ships have already sailed/Toothpaste can't go back into the tube/I'm already on record.
Because the first story is in the publication process, I can't walk back any of the assumptions I made when writing that story. In particular:
I've already got my technological profiles sorted out. The energy budget of the Circumpolar civilizations does not include fossil fuels, nuclear, or exotic energy sources. In other words, all of the people in existence have access to energy drawn from the Sun - or, occasionally, from geothermal sources. I make a point of this because many people might otherwise want to discuss this. It's off the table.
A less-than-worst-case global warming has peaked, due to rapid collapse-based deindustrialization in the 21st and 22nd centuries, and is starting to subside. I will need to be able to curve-fit my climate model outputs to fit that.
Western North America has become uninhabitably arid for points from modern-day Denver south. I had to wing it for the Borax Road story, but the existence of the "Dead Dry" region is a pivotal plot point. Desert conditions reach as far north as the plains of Alberta (when the people in the story, who live in the foothills not far from modern-day Banff, speak of salvaging resources from "The City", they are talking about Edmonton.) This is another thing I will need to tweak my climate models to accommodate.
The Polar Sea is largely still ecologically alive. Any ecological collapses, especially anoxic events, have so far not destroyed the living species of the Arctic. The biome has changed, of course, but it isn't quite pining for the Fjords just yet.
Constraint #2: Ye cannae change the laws of physics. Also, magic can't change the climate.
The After Oil series editor, John Michael Greer, proprietor of The Archdruid Report, put out his call for submissions in contest form. Here's the official statement of the contest rules:
The requirements are the same as before:
That is to say, the stories that will find a place in the second anthology, like those that populated the first, will feature human beings like you and me, coping with the aftermath of the industrial age in a world that could reasonably be our future, and living lives that are challenging, interesting, and maybe even appealing in that setting. I’d like to make an additional suggestion this time around: don’t settle for your ordinary, common or garden variety postpetroleum future. Make it plausible, make it logical, but make it different.
- Stories should be between 2500 and 7500 words in length;
- They should be entirely the work of their author or authors, and should not borrow characters or setting from someone else’s work;
- They should be in English, with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation;
- They should be stories—narratives with a plot and characters—and not simply a guided tour of some corner of the future as the author imagines it;
- They should be set in our future, not in an alternate history or on some other planet;
- They should be works of realistic fiction or science fiction, not magical or supernatural fantasy—that is, the setting and story should follow the laws of nature as those are presently understood; [emphasis mine]
- They should deal directly with the impact of peak oil, and the limits to growth in general, on the future; and as before,
- They must not rely on “alien space bats”—that is, dei ex machina inserted to allow humanity to dodge the consequences of the limits to growth. (Aspiring authors might want to read the whole “Alien Space Bats” post for a more detailed explanation of what I mean here.)
So, there you have it. I stated my constraints at length; thank you for reading them; please treat them as they are. I'm working within them, not building a world from scratch. :-)