This is a follow-up question to this question.

So, suppose that there were an island, with an average diameter of 90 miles, located within the arctic (or antarctic) circle. This island has a magical artificial sun hovering over it, in the upper atmosphere. This sun provides the island with roughly the same amount of light and heat as Hawaii gets.

This sun has a day/night cycle of sorts, but I don't think I need to get into that right now.

In the previous question, I learned that this would create a permanent tornado-cyclone on the island, as the heated air would rise and the frigid, surrounding air would rush in.

Now, suppose that there is a ring of smaller islands surrounding the main island. The ring of smaller islands form a circle around the middle island; the ring is around 5 to 10 miles thick, and has a diameter of roughly 110 miles. Assume that roughly 60% of this circle is above sea level, with the remaining area consisting of a few big gaps.

Suppose that the artificial sun in question also shines on these outlying islands. (If the sun has trouble shining on these outlying islands without making the center island too hot, assume there are smaller artificial suns scattered around the barrier ring to boost the effect.)

Would the presence of these outlying islands potentially shift the massive tornado cyclone outwards enough for the center island to be relatively calm?

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    $\begingroup$ Correction: if the heat is always applied (which it must be to maintain the island, light source notwithstanding), then the Arctic Cyclone is at the 5-mile point into the sea you mentioned in the last question. If the heat is actually supplied by the mini-sun, you'll never have a heated island (or a storm) because the cold of the polar regions would always overwhelm the island each and every night. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 15:24
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    $\begingroup$ No, thin chain of islands won't change much. You still have a lot of warm water and your air masses can still move freely. You'd need a circular range of tall mountains (or magic) to achieve good climate isolation. $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ It's MAGIC. seriously. If you really want, have a volcano cone with a perpetual cyclone at the top, and the rest of your island is just windy. Sounds like a pretty cool effect to me. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ Do take a look at the comment thread under the accepted answer to your first question. The "tornado-hurricane" idea is based on some assumptions that probably don't pan out. It's just as likely that the weather would be generally a bit breezy and freezing cold due to the inflow of air from the surroundings, but otherwise not so extreme. Certainly the skies would be clear most of the time, due to the very low humidity in the arctic circle. $\endgroup$
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Oct 13, 2021 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


This is not an answer, because I can't provide a yes or no.

In the original question, there were a number of things that exacerbated the effects of the setup, but also make the problem a lot easier to analyze and then find comparison terms to put the consequences in perspective.

  1. "sunlight" shining over the land only - low albedo - light-to-heat is very close to 100%
  2. steep gradient between the cold air outside and warm air above the island requires an always-on sun
  3. too little water to evaporate or anything else than air an carry away the extra heat elsewhere
  4. not enough heat storage capacity, the entire energy must be transformed in heat and used as such almost immediately.

Now, you relaxed the "steep gradient" problem, included water in the equation (with both higher albedo and heat absorption and transport capacity), allowed for more space for the clouds to form and evolve. Maybe there's enough heat in the water to afford switching the sun over the main island for a few hours? The system as you describe it now has a lot more degrees of freedom and is more chaotic.

Probably one of the climate modelling wizards using a wee bit of CPU time on Top200 supercomputers could offer you an answer in some short hours. But, as much as I regret it, I simply cannot. I'm really sorry for that.

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    $\begingroup$ For the record, if this isn't an answer, it's a comment and should have been posted as a comment (or series of comments). $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ For the record, exposing the reasons why I could not follow up on my prev answer (a) offers details where one could start to build one, were one so inclined; (b) requires more space that the comments can offer. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 15:32
  • $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi, you can post multiple comments one after the other. Always for the record. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch With the slight risk of having them moved on the ground that "Comments aren't the place for extended discussions" and see their availability (for whoever may want to use them to attempt proper answer) going off the record. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 21:47

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