As I understand it, the majority of thermal energy on Earth comes as a by-product of absorbing radiant solar energy. Since the equator gets hit by rays which are almost perpendicular to the surface of the planet for the majority of the year, it is the hottest region on the planet. Similarly, since the poles only receive sun for about half a year and at a very sharp angle, so the solar energy is being spread throughout a much larger area, there is not enough energy to keep them warm.

If it were possible to collect solar rays from a larger area in the polar region, store the energy and with no loss deliver it to a much smaller area (if my calculations are correct---about 10 times smaller) throughout the year, then would it be possible to maintain the warmer climate within this small area, assuming heat transfer to the outside is negligible?


closed as unclear what you're asking by Don Qualm, Mathaddict, Cyn, JBH, elemtilas May 2 at 4:51

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  • $\begingroup$ "assuming heat transfer to the outside is negligible" - do you want just to assume it? $\endgroup$ – Alexander May 1 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ What technology level is available in your world? I hardly think that Genghis Khan would have had the tech to make this possible, Ronald Reagan, well maybe. Modern day - maybe. Define larger area. Define ten times smaller (than specifically what?) Please edit your question to create more strict parameters. Voting to close as unclear what you are asking. $\endgroup$ – Don Qualm May 1 at 19:47
  • $\begingroup$ If the only question you're asking is, "if I collect the solar radiation from a square acre and refocus it to an area a tenth of an acre square, will that tenth of an acre square be warmer?" the answer is "yes." But that seems fairly trivial. Is that actually what you were asking? You might consider using our Sandbox. $\endgroup$ – JBH May 1 at 23:20

Yes, though there are potentially easier methods.

There is nothing stopping you from placing solar panels over a large area of the surface near the poles, and then using that energy to power heaters to raise the temperature. However, this would potentially take a large amount of solar panels and wiring, especially if you want to do this over a large region. If you have a net efficiency of 20% on your solar panels, and you want to multiply the energy in a given area by 10, then, for every square meter of area you wish to keep warm, you would need 45 square meters of solar paneling. To put that in perspective, if you wish to warm up an area the size of Los Angeles, you need solar panels over an area the size of Lake Victoria, and then you would also need to connect it via wires (which would farther decrease the efficiency as energy is lost to resistance).

An easier method would be to use mirrors in orbit to focus more energy on the surface. People have actually discussed doing something similar to this for Mars colonization, to increase the temperature and solar flux over a region of Mars's surface. There is no reason why a similar plan of using orbital mirrors couldn't be used for the same purpose. These mirrors have an advantage of being much more efficient (almost 100%, instead of about 20%), not needing wires, and being able to redirect sunlight dead-on instead of being at the same angle. This also has the advantage of the heat coming from something more like sunlight, which will make it a more pleasant experience for people who move there from a more equatorial region.

You can also still have a warmer region even if there is heat transfer to the outside. You just have to replace any heat that is lost, but that's what your energy collection systems are for. You'll heat up the area around you some, but that could be accepted.


Climate is a chaotic and complex system, full of feedback and feedforward between several factors.

That said, if you want to increase the amount of solar radiation reaching the polar regions, what you could do is orbiting a set of mirror satellites in polar orbits, which would reflect light on the poles with a higher incidence angle.

In this way, with proper orbital parameter, you could send light even during the polar night, removing the need for the energy storage.

This would for sure shift the energy balance of the polar region toward a different value, thanks to the increase in impinging radiation.

However equatorial climate doesn't mean only higher temperatures, but also high precipitations. Else you would get something along the line of the tropical deserts.

Since, as I stated, climate is a chaotic system, I don't know what the effect will be on the rain. For sure temperatures will rise.


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