Basically, in my world there are no seasons on any of the relevant planets due to no axial tilt or orbital eccentricity. However, there are two portals which allow for travel between a fairly hot planet and a relatively cold planet. I was wondering, if both of these portals were placed near the poles of the cold planet and the equator of the warm planet, could you place these portals (atleast partially) in coastal waters and occasionally open or close them to produce artificial seasons in the local area? The portals would allow around 4-5 million gallons of water to move between the worlds each second. Would this movement of water allow for the ability to somewhat control the climate of the local regions, maybe as far as 20 miles away from each portal? How would it affect the climate on either side of the portal?


2 Answers 2


This (and the subsequent installment) might be a good place to start, if you're wondering about the mechanical consequences of inter-planetary ocean portals.

Done reading (/ archive binging the rest of the webcomic)? Good. Moving on.

I don't know how big the portals are, but over a million litres of water per second is a lot of water. If your portals are too small, you might accidentally kill any White Witches unfortunate enough to be in range. If your portals are really too small, you would briefly create a superluminal water laser and then a cloud of very excited particles where the planets used to be.

In the interests of avoiding catastrophic flooding, and of not having Newton, Bernoulli, and Einstein stomp-circle your setting into oblivion, I'll assume that these portals are at the surface and somehow fixed so that they don't run into water level problems. I'll also assume that the two planets, in addition to having no axial tilt, have exactly the right masses, radii, total amounts of water and atmosphere, etc. to cancel out the effect of the different temperatures on water pressure. This are basically impossible without presupposing some kind of alien solar-system-architects, but we're already talking about two planets with exactly zero axial tilt that are connected by a portal, so it was probably inevitable.

In this case, yes, you could significantly affect the local climate by adjusting how big the portals were - though not to any terribly precise degree, and you might have some issues if the two sides disagreed on what that size should be at any given moment. The warm side would get cooler and the cool side would get warmer. The size of the portal would affect not just the magnitude of the temperature change, but also the area affected, because the temperature change would drop off as you got further away. If you were on the warm planet and you opened the portal enough to noticeably cool down something 10 km away, the space near the portal would probably be very chilly.

However, it would also cause a whole pile of problems, probably the least of which is that you've created what is basically a continuous, interplanetary version of ballast pollution. The ecological consequences of container ships moving ballast around on our own single planet are bad enough - you'd be swapping invasive species from two different planets continuously.

You could solve ballast pollution by putting some sort of filter over the portals - I'm going to assume they're magical in nature - to block anything larger than a water molecule. If you want people (the only invasive species that invades on purpose) to be travelling through these portals, you can say they have some way to let individual things through the filter. The bigger problem is the climate change caused by the portals - it would be slower and smaller than what we're doing to Earth, but it would happen. IRL, warming seas have caused hurricanes and tropical storms to get much worse and more frequent, and severely damaged coral reefs and other sea life. There's some concern that it could disrupt the vertical currents between different levels of the ocean, which would also be catastrophic. There's also the matter of different ocean pH levels, but you could easily solve that with the magic filter or the ancient aliens.

This isn't to say that people wouldn't do it anyway regardless of the consequences - we've certainly caused bigger problems by accident - but it's something you would need to consider. Alternatively, you could bypass the issue and say that the portals have been up for so long (i.e., hundreds of thousands if not millions of years) that all the ecological/environmental consequences have already shaken out (though if the planets were still different temperatures, you'd still have the "temperature differential causing/worsening storms" problem).

I'm going to make a tangent from the portals to mention some other consequences of planets with no axial tilt or seasons. No seasons means no seasonal migrations, probably no synchronized mating cycles (smaller organisms could use lunar cycles, but basically anything larger than an insect takes too long to grow up for that), very different agriculture, and probably a delayed understanding of planetary mechanics. The main reason we have an annual calendar is because Europe's climate changes drastically over the course of a year, with the best results of agriculture being locked to a yearly schedule of planting and harvesting that we needed to track (and because Europe conquered the rest of the world and brought the calendar with it). Much of the mathematical basis for modern astronomy was originally developed to calculate what time of year it was so that farmers in various temperate climates knew when to plant and harvest your crops. Contrast that with cultures like the Maya, whose calendar (despite being quite advanced for a stone age civilization) was a straightforward day-counter, with none of its many cycles corresponding to the Earth's orbit around the sun - the Maya lived in a tropical jungle that was basically the same temperature all year round.

The last thing to consider is why anyone would want to do this in the first place. You have two planets with no axial tilt, where the average temperature at any location will be constant year-round and a direct function of latitude - if you want to live somewhere with a different temperature, find the right latitude on the right planet and go there.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'll have to reread this question later, but suffice it to say, there are magical solar-system architects, three of which are still living in the solar system. The portals are controlled, on both ends, by a benevolent theocratic civilization that uses the portals to occasionally assist the good guys on the warm world. The warm world is also a little to hot, and I am thinking some polar water may be needed to cool it down to keep it from being unliveable in the long term. The cool planet is quite abit colder than earth. $\endgroup$
    – skout
    Feb 12, 2022 at 17:36

Ocean currents affect climate on earth

On earth, ocean currents moderate the climate. Hot currents bring enormous amount of heat from equator to the poles. Similarly cold currents change the climate of hot regions.

Movement of water through portals

Water through one portal will move from cold planet to hot planet and through other portal from hot planet to cold planet. This will affect the climate of both planets at the points where water is coming out.

Consider following points while regulating the water flow through the portals.

  • The total volume of water moved from a planet should remain zero otherwise one planet will be flooded and other dehydrated.
  • On any one of the planets, when you suck water from one point and dump water at another point, keep the flow rate such that overall ocean level is not disturbed much. Very fast movement can cause huge waves and tides.
  • Open and close the portals simultaneously, so that amount of water on each planet remains the same.
  • The sucking and dumping points on any planet should be far enough from each other so that the temperature at two points is very different from each other.
  • $\begingroup$ We're not talking about two one-way portals, but two two-way portals. $\endgroup$
    – skout
    Feb 12, 2022 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ Even then you should consider first 2 points written in the answer. $\endgroup$
    – imtaar
    Feb 15, 2022 at 8:39

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