I ask this question because in my fictional world, I want to create extremely cold, populated areas, especially in Northernmost areas, but I noticed that in our real world, regions with less than -30°C average temperature by year are usually uninhabited. But in my fictional world, I would want to make sure that some people could survive in areas with extremely cold weather.

Do you know how people could do this?

Thanks you for your answers, and have a good day!

Edit 1 : I also recently learned that a landlocked region in far North/far South was usually significantly colder than a region in far North/far South bordered with oceans and seas.

Edit 2 : I want technological solutions, not biological changes, because my fictional world is a remix of our real world.

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    $\begingroup$ If this question is just "what are ways to keep warm for people", well, I think you can solve that one yourself unless you've never been inside a house. Try giving more information instead: Do you want biological changes or perhaps more technological solutions? If so, perhaps define a stage of development, e.g. "something which would've been believable in the 18th century". You don't want a fission reactor in your prehistoric world. Perhaps you are looking for something else? Please elaborate $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Nov 17 '19 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ Are these 'people' going to be human, or of human origin? $\endgroup$ – user70311 Nov 17 '19 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your edits. By -30°C, do you mean average temperature? Care to give a more detailed description? What are the highs and lows? Since we are talking about the current state of the world, what exactly do those people do in those climates? Do you want them to live there self-sufficient (doesn't make sense with the current world thing, but whatever) or do they just have to live someplace as scientists or miners or something along those lines? I'm sure you are aware of things like buildings and heaters, do you have a preferred way this should go? Underground city? Icy village? $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Nov 17 '19 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks you! I just forgot to specify that. There are some things that I want to keep secret until my fictional world will be published, but I can say that at least a Northernmost country with a very cold average temperature by year will be a wealthy/developed country with a very important oil industry (just like Alberta or Russia in our real world). $\endgroup$ – user69450 Nov 17 '19 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ (1) There are people living all year round in Antarctica. Not many, but there are some. It is a solved problem, in the actual real world. Use your favorite search engine to learn how an Antarctic research station works. Only a few people live all year round in Antarctica, because... (2) Earth is still mostly empty. There are vast huge immense areas with very much better conditions than Antartica with almost no people. First we colonize the Pampas. Then we colonize Siberia. Then we colonize the Sahara. (3) If you want to have more than a few people in Antarctica, give them a reason. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Nov 17 '19 at 19:51

The biggest change you need to make to make this work is to provide an easy and abundant source of energy and food. For example, Eskimo/Inuit people mainly survive on hunting + fishing. They use the meat they hunt to eat, the skins the get from the animals to keep warm, and the fat from the animals to burn. Hunting, is however not a stable form of establishing civilization. Hunting is strictly bound by geographical area and limits the population of humans or/and forces them to become nomadic. A non-nomadic, city or country of lots of people therefore cannot rely on hunting.

I see two main problems that you need to figure out:

  1. Why do people live in the cold areas?
  2. How do the people in the cold areas get their food + energy?

There are multiple solutions to each of these problems, and I'm gonna propose a few, first to address the first problem.

  • There is some sort of rare resource in the North. Maybe it's oil that can be extracted, maybe it's a rare type of fish, maybe there are ridiculous amounts of rare-earth metals, or maybe the proximity to the poles makes finding space debris more likely or something. The only important factor is it needs to be something which requires human labor if you want lots of people to live there, not just mining outposts or whatever.

  • The people in the north have been driven to exile there for religious or societal reasons. Maybe they were indigenous people, chased further and further north by the expanding imperialist empire or whatever.

  • If your story takes place further in the future, maybe people moved north to be able to support their computer hardware. Cooling computers/servers is expensive and by moving somewhere colder where you can just use ice, you can save lots of money. Hell, maybe your people are cyborgs who have trouble keeping cool due to all the electronics in them

  • Global warming is proceeding at such a rapid pace that millions decided to make a land grab and claim future prime real-estate and are banking on having a comfortable climate in a couple of years while everyone else burns.

Now on to potential solutions for the second problem:

  • The rare resource that the northpeople extract is able to produce large amounts of power. Maybe it's oil, maybe it's unobtanium, who knows. They use this abundance of power to heat and light large hydroponic/aeroponic greenhouses and use these to grow their foods

  • The cyborgs in the north don't actually need food to survive, just electricity. By being somewhere that has sunlight perpetually for half a year, solar panel powered people could migrate around the pole, following the eternal day.

  • The value of what the northpeople have (datacenter power, unobtanium stores, oil reserves, whatever) is sufficient enough to let the people import food and power from further south where it's easily grown.


McMurdo base in the Antarctica hosts between 1250 and 250 people.

An annual sealift by cargo ships as part of Operation Deep Freeze delivers 8 million U.S. gallons (6.6 million imperial gallons/42 million liters) of fuel and 11 million pounds (5 million kg) of supplies and equipment for McMurdo residents.

Since you ask for technological solution, a cargo ship delivering supplies is perfectly technological.


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