I made a map for my fictional world and it would be convenient for the story to have all of it affected by a somewhat similar climate.

The map is made of several pieces of a Pangaea-like continent that have split apart but remained close to each other.

Is it possible to have a single Pangaea-like continent that is located in one polar hemisphere? Preferably in a zone with a mild climate where winters get cold but not enough to form snow.

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    $\begingroup$ @JBH How so? Both Asia and Africa have parts in both the southern and northern hemispheres in the real world. I don't see how having a larger continent would preclude that from being possible? Surely, if anything, it makes it more likely. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Feb 21 '19 at 18:39
  • $\begingroup$ @JBH If you take arbitrary hemispheres then yes (unless the continent is bigger than half the planet's surface). I should have clarified that i meant Northern/Southern hemispheres. In other words is it possible for all the land to be located on one side of the equator. $\endgroup$ – MadCake - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '19 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ There we go. Please edit your body text, that last paragraph, to say "polar hemisphere." That makes me completely happy. $\endgroup$ – JBH Feb 21 '19 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think [map-making] is the correct tag here, but I did not remove it. What do others think? $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole Feb 21 '19 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ Take a look at San Diego County, which is just 4,526 mi². In that area there is a mild Mediterranean climate, a coastal desert within that climate, cool foggy coasts, hot inland farming communities, a traditional desert with all the trappings, and mountains that get substantial snow every winter. I don't think you can have any decently sized continent that always has a mild climate. $\endgroup$ – Cyn says make Monica whole Feb 21 '19 at 19:35

Yes, and Earth already did it.

Here's Earth in the Late Cambrian. The majority of the landmass isn't centered on the South Pole, but offset a bit. There's no particular reason; it could have just as easily been centered on it.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Well this one leaves no reasons to doubt. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – MadCake - Reinstate Monica Apr 13 '19 at 20:56

Yes you can, but the climate would not be similar throughout.

Too many things change climate, a small mountain range can cause a rain shadow. A prairie can cause pop up storms. Warm water meeting cold can create storms. Warm water hitting cold air can create snow. Just look at north America. It's relatively flat, but has huge climate variations in each time zone. Even something as simple as the great lakes actually cause what is known as a snow belt, an area that gets a huge amount of snow because of those lakes.

And the variations get worse the larger the landmass.

Here is a rather simplistic view of the climate zones on Earth. note that each continent has several. enter image description here

You could define similar as being in the same zone, but even that's not continent wide. And your continent would be larger still.

This map isn't actually climate, but a vegetation map and it gives a good idea of the different climates on a single continent. enter image description here


I don't see why not, obviously considering Pangaea existed. I wouldn't see why it couldn't be centered anywhere on earth's surface.

If you want similar climates, you probably should be looking more at latitude, than either hemisphere.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. My main concern was the asymmetry. I do not know how exactly the tectonic plate motion works so I can only make baseless assumptions on this part. I can imagine it is affected by something alike to Brownian motion which would in the end distribute the floating particles more or less uniformly. $\endgroup$ – MadCake - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '19 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MadCake you mean, how the asymmetry could affect the planet while it spins? $\endgroup$ – zeph Feb 21 '19 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ I mean I'm not sure it is possible for the result of tectonic plate motion to be a map where all the land is located on one side of the equator as the nature of this process (which I'm not familiar with) might tend to distribute land equally to some extent. Though I googled a bit more and found this (in short - if Mars had oceans most of it's land would be located in one hemisphere): quora.com/… $\endgroup$ – MadCake - Reinstate Monica Feb 21 '19 at 18:20

Yes, as far as I can tell what you propose is perfectly feasible. It would add verisimilitude if you specified that the tectonic plate boundary for this supercontinent was coterminous with its edge and had extensive subduction zones along the coast and high coastal mountains (analogous to the Andes at the Pacific/South American plate boundary). Irrespective of your assumptions about the global climatic regime, the interior of this supercontinent would be hyperarid (rain shadow plus distance from sea) and experience large temperature extremes, both seasonally and diurnally. The corresponding oceanic hemisphere could have convergent and constructional plate boundaries and would then have numerous and mountainous island chains.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding, John! If you have a moment, please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. You may also find Worldbuilding Meta and The Sandbox useful. Here is a meta post on the culture and style of Worldbuilding.SE, just to help you understand our scope and methods, and how we do things here. Have fun! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Apr 11 '19 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the climate I found this article to be very helpful worldbuildingworkshop.com/2015/11/27/climate. Though it did not include your point about distance from the ocean making the climate more extreme and arid. Thanks for the tips. $\endgroup$ – MadCake - Reinstate Monica Apr 14 '19 at 11:16

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