There are three types of magic system in the world I'm building. One of them, Sundancing(tentative name), can manipulate thermal energy. So they are able to take energy from an enviorment, cooling it down, store it, and use it later to various purposes, all of them relasing the heat back.

My question is, what would be the greater consequences to the world of people using this power in the long run, specially in the climatic sense.

P.S: Suppose everyone has the potential to use such ability to various degrees of sucess.

Edit: The average Sundancers can take all energy in the environment in a spherical zone of radius of one meter, up to -20 Celsius. If they want to cool it more, they would have to release that energy elsewhere before doing it again.

As for time scales, maybe in a year, a hundred, a thousand, a million+, up to the one were the damge would be the greatest.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We would need rather more information... how much energy are you talking about, and what are the timescales involved? $\endgroup$
    – Monty Wild
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ ...Are they breaking the second law when they do this "sundancing"? Is there some equivalent cost in resources and waste heat associated with this power? Or could they, e.g., repeatedly take the heat out of the air and dump it into the combustion chamber of a turboshaft? Because if they can, then they basically have infinite free energy, and any impacts on climate likely be completely eclipsed by what they choose to do with that. $\endgroup$
    – Will Chen
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Will Chen Technically no, as they use an internal source of energy that is depleted and lost as waste energy, and they can't really use environmental energy to recharge it with a 100% efficiency (meaning no recharges in battle), but in local terms, with local being their universe, yes they are breaking the second law. In the end they can't keep recovering wasted heat constantly as they would need time to rest, but with a few of them, I think they could do something like that. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 20:23

3 Answers 3


Earth has an atmospheric volume of 4,200,000,000 cubic kilometers. If every person on earth can affect a 1m radius sphere, that's about 4.19 cubic meters per person. If 5 billion people just happened to work their magic at the same time, they would affect about 21 billion cubic meters of air... about 0.0000005% of the total atmospheric volume, causing a global temperature differential of about 0.0000002°C.

If the energy removed could be released off the planet or somehow sequestered, there would be a net temperature drop.

If every one of the five billion people did this every single second of the day, that would add up to a total global temperature drop of about 0.02°C... but I can't imagine that happening.

Since the heat radiated from the earth is related to the fourth power of the temperature, a reduction in temperature would result in a significantly larger drop in the energy radiated back out to space, and don't forget the incoming solar radiation won't likely change.

In short, unless an awful lot of people try really hard to cause a global climate change, nothing significant is likely to happen on a global scale over any timescale, short or long, regardless of what might happen in a localized area.


The average Sundancers can take all energy in the environment in a spherical zone of radius of one meter, up to -20 Celsius.

That's a small fridge cell, unless you are Lara Croft's butler the impact on the climate is negligible. To make it noticeable you would need all the users to release the stored heat in a localized area in the same time, more or less what happens in big cities when all houses switch on their airco, making the outside slightly hotter due to the added heat dumped out of the houses.


Global impact: zero

A crowd of Sundancers working together might make some interesting local effects though.

A few hundred acting together to cool the air in an arena, then release the heat directly outside the arena, and repeating as fast as they can, would create quite the fogbank, billowing out from the center as the hot air outside rises while the old air inside falls and forms fog.

Or, acting in reverse with the hot spot towards the center, they could make a fog donut with a strong rising wind in the center. Potentially even forming their own tame twister in the process.

But, the energy input cannot possibly be dense enough to make this twister a weapon. The energy needed for a true tornado, even a small one, will require more sundancers than fit in shoulder-to-shoulder.

Hmm... A sundancer could power their own hot-air-balloon, or possibly even generate enough lift to keep a hang-glider airborne in its own thermal?

But global, or even regional impact? Nil.


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