I have scoured through the archives here and cant exactly find what I am looking for in terms of a specific setting I am trying to render in my novel.

Let's say the world has built up so much smog (perhaps it's not smog, but it is perpetually foggy and cloudy to the point where the sun never shows? but very minimal light escapes) in the atmosphere, it has blotted out the sun, what would life be like?

More specifically in terms of technology, city life, and climate. This is different from there simply being no sun. The world would still spin on it's axis and around the sun, but it just cannot be seen.

What would the climate be like? would weather patterns change? what animals or crops would suffer? would solar rays still penetrate? Would it still be able to rain, would there be coastal winds? I guess I am more intrigued by what would happen to the weather etc as that would inform the technology needed to survive and the culture.

Please let me know if more specifics are needed. I tried to narrow it down, but I understand that it can be sort of broad.

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    $\begingroup$ So it strikes me that the answers may be simpler than you think. if the smog blots out the sun, then solar rays wont be able to penetrate, by definition. Plants will all die off, every last one, and then everyone else will die off soon afterwards. Are you expecting a more interesting answer than that? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 24 '17 at 22:05
  • $\begingroup$ No. It seems to make sense. Instead of smog, what if it was a more natural occurrence like always being foggy and cloudy to the point the sun is not visible. Would life still be viable or would it be the same ending as the smog situation? $\endgroup$ – Lindsey Bee Mar 24 '17 at 22:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't have light, you don't have photosynthesis. This means the only living things that survive are the ones with exotic metabolisms, like lithotrophs which metabolize rocks. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 24 '17 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your answer, but "everything perishes" is not what I am looking for. would this be something technology could get them out of? could the light be artificially created? what would the weather look like if the sun was blotted out, no matter if everyone is dead... $\endgroup$ – Lindsey Bee Mar 24 '17 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ The issue you will run into quickly is that a huge amount of energy is required to maintain a biome. If you had fusion plants churning out 1000x more power than our entire power grid today, you might be able to keep some things alive with artificial lights. As for the weather, that probably depends on a lot of complications (weather isn't simple), but you might look at Venus as a case study for what hot smoggy weather can be like. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 24 '17 at 22:19

In short, everybody dies. Though not at once. Most plants will die in days to weeks. Trees however will last at least years before they're through their internal supply of energy.

With plant life no longer photosynthizing your oxygen supply starts to deplete. Still that would take hundreds of thousands of years. So you won't suffocate.All your crops still die though.

You're gonna starve long before the full eco system collapses. It might be possible to create small pockets that survive. I mean we can survive on antartica and on space stations. We can create hydroponics on Earth. But our society as we've ever known it will cease to exist.

That's even ignoring the fact your fauna will also perish. No plants, no food for the herbivores. After they die your carnivores die. Your whole ecosystem will die and while you can create hydroponics to feed your human survivors you can't feed an entire system of prey and predators.

Life is gonna be harsh and dull. Maybe given some millions of not billions of years new life will emerge, adapt. Till then your humans will be lonely.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds like the dinosaurs somehow... :) $\endgroup$ – rogerdpack Aug 18 '17 at 16:32

What you get is are the effects of nuclear winter (without the slight increase in radiation). Here's the wiki.

The highlights are:

  1. Plants die
  2. It starts to get cold
  3. Herbivores die
  4. Carnivores die
  5. We die

Steps 1 & 2 probably happen simultaneously.

Step 5 happens continuously throughout through looting, food riots, etc. I put it last because some people have stores of canned goods and they will last until the cans run out or someone takes their cans away.

The survivors will be microbes. This is kind of been there, done that for them.

And cockroaches, they'll at least survive longer than us.

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You can still use the fog idea but instead of it being concentrated in all the surface area of the sun how about it just limits sunlight in some places and in others it's totally nonexistent?

Also if it is set in a more enhanced world you can say people found a way to store the sunlight by some time of device satellite or they had already stored enough sunlight as they had predicted the fog ( of course it has to last till they find a way to get of the fog)

And you can also go with the storing thing and say they had already been preparing green house farms using stored or artificial sunlight. And that of course has to cut down crops of life stock by at least half but at least most humans won't perish because of the lack of food.

You also have to put into account the climatic changes. Of course, it is going to be considerably colder, maybe the ocean would freeze completely. There would also be no rain or clouds, I think. I am not an expert so I'm not really sure but I hope it helps.

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