Let's say the classical element of Air is controlled by three deities. One creates the air itself, just being present for the second one to move it at a steady pace, a gentle breeze that blows over the whole world, and the last one controls how fast, slow, or if there is any wind at all.

Now, let's say the last one vanishes from existence, and only the first two exist now. As there is only a gentle breeze constantly blowing in all corners of the world. What effects would that have, such as ocean currents, the spread of fires, sailing, and everyday life?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. What effects in general is way to broad, please narrow it down. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jun 15 '18 at 3:28
  • $\begingroup$ Well, like would this effect the sails in ships, fire patterns, the way the current sin the oceans go, etc. $\endgroup$ – Murawt Jun 15 '18 at 3:36
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    $\begingroup$ Murawt, we undestand what you're asking, but a comprehensive response would be an entire book, which is off-topic as "too broad." The Stack Exchange model is one-specific-question-one-best-answer. We're generally lenient, but we need your question to be scoped so the answers are practical. Most of the effects are logically obtained. No speedy sailing ships. No strong storms. Weakened currents. But it isn't within our scope to design an entire world climate for you. What one or two specific issues are you most concerned with? $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 15 '18 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ What direction? If the breeze is blowing equally from all directions, everywhere, you effectively have no wind at all. $\endgroup$ – nzaman Jun 15 '18 at 6:13
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    $\begingroup$ The Hairy Ball theorem is relevant here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairy_ball_theorem $\endgroup$ – Stephen McAteer Jun 15 '18 at 6:18

This is mathematically impossible under reasonable physical assumptions. So we have to break those assumptions, which results in a number of surprising implications.

The hairy ball theorem states that there is no continuous nonvanishing vector field over a sphere. In simpler terms, there must be a point on the planet where the wind forms a cyclone or anticyclone. You cannot have a steady "gentle breeze" at all points on the planet, because the mathematics of vector fields does not allow it. No matter how you draw your arrows of wind, they will eventually form a cyclone, anticyclone, or discontinuity (point where the wind changes suddenly).

There are a number of ways around this, but they are all physically unrealistic:

  1. The planet has a hole in it, like a donut, or otherwise forms a surface which is not topologically equivalent to a sphere. One particularly exotic way of doing this is to add a fourth spatial dimension. The theorem only applies to even-dimensioned spheres like the 2-sphere (the 2D surface of a 3-ball), so "bumping up" a dimension circumvents the restriction entirely. Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott provides some good intuition for what a fourth dimension might look like to three-dimensional beings such as ourselves. What it could look like to the indigenous four-dimensional natives is less clear to me. The other option is to go "down" a dimension, giving you something resembling Ringworld by Larry Niven.
  2. Air molecules are large enough that the vector field model is no longer a good approximation of their large-scale behavior. Large air molecules would have lots of interesting implications for the biology of the planet's inhabitants, particularly if they respire like we do. I imagine the air would be far more viscous, and might begin to exhibit properties we normally associate with liquids. It should also be much denser, because gas volume is proportional to moles, not mass (note that formula breaks down for larger molecules, so it's only useful as a first approximation). This would leave human-scale beings feeling much lighter due to increased buoyancy. If the gas is dense enough, humans might be able to swim or even float in it.
  3. Air is created, destroyed, or teleported from one point on the planet to another. These points could play the same role as cyclones and anticyclones, but without disrupting the broader atmosphere. Perhaps one of your remaining two gods can do this. In a sense, this is the "easy way out," because it does not require physically modifying the planet or its ecosystem in drastic ways. However, it does mean you have to reshape what your gods are doing. I would recommend the teleportation option, because it keeps the total volume of air constant, which is important if you want the scenario to be physically stable in the long run.
  4. There is no wind and the air stands still at all points on the planet. This does not fit the scenario which you have described, but trivially satisfies the theorem. Because the slightest perturbation of air (e.g. a human breath, or butterfly wing flapping) would move us out of this scenario, it would likely require nontrivial efforts on the part of your gods to maintain.
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    $\begingroup$ I would just put a cyclone and an anticyclone one on each of the planet's poles... $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Jun 15 '18 at 8:25

To move anything you need some force, for the second deity to move the air would indicate that it's possible for the deity to control the force to some extent.

If the deity was even able to move the air in a direction (maybe the deity could control the direction of travel)

  • You have to figure out what would cause the air to move in that direction without the force necessary if the deity in control of force not existing?

  • Possibly trees and plants leaning in the same direction.

  • The continuous breeze after doing one full revolution of the planet dependent on its gravity and any obstructions in the way of the breeze (as represented by wind tunnels) could enable it to pick up momentum in a specific section of the world leading to fast lanes of wind speed.

    • the built up wind speed could create large wind waves.

If the deity that controls the force vanishes while the other two are continuously doing their purpose.

  • the direction could eventually stabilize in a specific direction that ultimately wins the battle of forces (think of a wave pool that creates waves on all 4 sides at different speeds then shutting them all off).

For wind to blow, it must be able to go somewhere. It can’t just pile up some place, at least, not for very long. So if there’s a constant wind everywhere, eventually the wind will settle out into a stable pattern in a set of fixed “circular” streams — by “circular”, I mean streams that come back to where they started, not actual circles necessarily.

So one pattern possible would be circles around the globe at every latitude line. Another would be a globe spanning wandering river of air that goes back and forth covering all points until it gets back to its start. Or any other variation with fixed paths. Wind erosion on the ground will follow these paths.


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