I'm trying to create a world that has a equator-like climate in the north pole and the same arctic south pole. I have done some research already but there are a lot of things I don't know but the have came up with one way this possible.

  1. The planet is the same as Earth but there are lots of volcanoes on either the south or the north pole. If they are in the north my idea is that lots volcanic activity in the north thinned the ozone and made it more susceptible to heat. Would that mean the people that live their would they be subject to radiation, also would that even work?

  2. If they were in the south the same volcanic activity caused a sort of nuclear winter that is constant rotation in the prevailing winds of the south and keeping in its hemisphere. But for that to work the poles need to be originally hot and still having the poles being hot and the planet needs to still be livable.

Sorry if that didn't make any sense right now; I'm not in the right frame of mind while writing this. But will those work? If they don't I'm open to other ways this could be possible.

  • $\begingroup$ The ozone layer has nothing to do with heat. Also if you are not in the right frame of mind to write a question, then hold up until you are. :) $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Oct 10, 2017 at 14:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Title is misleading. I thought it's about Southern Hemisphere(where indeed moving north gets you hotter, and moving south — colder), not switching polar and equatorial climate. $\endgroup$
    – user28434
    Oct 10, 2017 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @user28434 sorry about that I should've specified $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Have you checked out Artifexian's video on seasons, youtube.com/watch?v=J4K3H9aNLpE In it around the 5 minute mark he discusses that if the axial tilt is over 54 degrees the tropical and polar regions switch places. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Ferret Civilization I will watch it later but I'm going to say thank you in advance $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 20:49

8 Answers 8


Seas in the North, Land in the South

You can create this kind of world if you make your New Antarctic (the south) be much larger than Earth's Antarctic. If you make a majority of the southern hemisphere be land, then this will make the climate there colder.

The New Arctic by contrast will be mostly sea. And if you manage to make it so that you have a powerful sea correct from the equator that pumps hot water up to the north, this will make the climate there a lot warmer than our present Arctic... like the Gulf Stream but with no annoying islands like Greenland and Iceland in the way.

If you also raise the average temperature of the planet compared to Earth, then you can assume you get a desert-like and inhospitable equator, a tropic or subtropic Arctic, and a cold desert Antarctic.

  • $\begingroup$ So would be adding a continent up in the north( this landmass will be pretty big) ruin this effect? $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ Probably so, yes. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ So if the continent would be a contingent of islands would the hot water be able to flow in and between these islands and continue the flow of hot water for the cycle? $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 15:38
  • $\begingroup$ That would probably do it, yes. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ So for you original post to work does the planet position need to be special in anyway? $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 15:48

Use altitude to change the temperature
Start with earth as we know it and straighten up the axial tilt so that it's just a few degrees. This way there will be less variation between summer and winter to worry about. Next cool the southern polar region by putting it on a vast mountainous plateau like Tibet and warm up the northern polar area by putting it in a vast depression or impact basin.

The amount the air temperature changes with altitude is quite complex, but I would have thought that a 5 degree change per kilometre of altitude difference would not be unreasonable. If you make the mountain plateau 4 kilometres above the mean elevation and the polar depression 4 kilometres below the mean this would give giving a -20 to the south pole and +20 to the north pole.

You could then fine tune things to get it how you wanted. Depending on circumstances a 6km high plateau might be acceptable giving another 10 degrees colder in the south. If the atmosphere was a bit thicker say 1.5x of that on earth all these effects would be amplified. The southern polar region would poke out of the denser part of the atmosphere whilst the north would have an extra heat blanket (think a very tame Venus).

Volcanic activity might also be co-opted in to help. If the northern polar region had a few hot spots producing a lot of steam but not a lot of direct volcanism that might aid the warming. If the southern polar region had no volcanos in it but a lot of volcanos around it, then particulates could get trapped in the air circulating over the poles cooling it further.

  • $\begingroup$ Wow...I never considered that, its possible and not very complex I like your idea Thank you!! $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! - since you mentioned it and you are new here, the usual way of giving gratitude or showing disapproval is by marking questions up or down using the arrows to the left of the question... although I can't remember how much reputation you need to do that. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Oct 10, 2017 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for asking this now but would there still be seasons? $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ @NubianNauzicaa If the axis is straightened then seasonal effects will be diminished, although a residue tilt and the eccentricity of the orbit would still allow some seasonal effects. For more seasonality the best way would be to make the orbit of the planet more eccentric. There might be some interesting effects in your northern polar region. Although generally very warm the sun is never going to be overhead it will simply roll around the horizon. Areas near the polar mountains will experience 6 months of shadow and 6 months of light. Areas nearer the pole will be in perpetual daylight. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Oct 10, 2017 at 21:59

A.C.A.C was onto something.

Poles are defined by magnetism and spin.

Temperature is influenced by the part of the planet pointing at the sun.

Uranus' pole points at the sun. It spins round and round but at 90 degrees different, from we are used to on earth. Sometimes the pole is warm (see image)

This is what you want. But on a habitable world.

enter image description here

This idea was panned below. You might need very long years for your story.

  • $\begingroup$ Yea that can work, I just dont want the reason for this worlds climate to be one in a million $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ 1 in 8. :) I think they think it was an asteroid hit, which was common early on. $\endgroup$
    – SFWriter
    Oct 10, 2017 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ You right doe B $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ That's not going to work because the pole pointing toward the sun alternates through the year (like the earth season but more extreme). You would have to combine it with a very rapid precession. $\endgroup$
    – smatterer
    Oct 11, 2017 at 0:14

It's difficult to have a stable climate like that, but you can get some cyclic approximation.

Let's have a binary system with a large massive star and a smaller one circling it from far away (so that the orbit is several centuries).

If your planet is in the Goldilock zone of the dwarf and it's orbit is almost perpendicular to giant-dwarf orbit then you could have what you ask, at least for half of the star's orbit, then the climates would slowly reverse.

I mean:

  • planet gets most of its heating from nearer dwarf star
  • giant will appear to move to one pole to the other very slowly.
  • in this particular moment it seems to be hovering on north pole and it will remain there for centuries before noticeably moving back toward equator and then south pole.
  • additional light incoming from giant should be enough to make a climate difference.

A tidal locked planet with it's north pole pointed at the star will show this behavior. The difference however is 1 side of the planet is always light and 1 side is always dark so night and day will be impossible. To keep the planet in a habitable zone in this case, the star will need to be a small red dwarf so the sun in your world will be pretty red.

Also on any planet where there is huge temperature differences, there is a lot of wind. Hurricanes and typhoons are part of what regulate temperature on Earth, in your proposed world, there will be HUGE storms moving from the hot side to the cold side no matter what solution you choose. Heated air and water likes to move from hot areas to cold areas.

  • $\begingroup$ A tidally locked planet cannot, by definition, have a pole pointed at its star. $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Oct 10, 2017 at 21:56
  • $\begingroup$ @rek could it not have it's magnetic pole there but still be locked rotationally? $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 22:20
  • $\begingroup$ Although its actual rotation pole is obviously not at the closest point to the star, inhabitants would be pretty likely to think of the closest and furthest points as poles. It would mean more to them than rotation would. $\endgroup$ Oct 12, 2017 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ @A.C.A.C. What difference would the location of the magnetic poles make on the climate? $\endgroup$
    – rek
    Nov 1, 2017 at 18:56

If you are fine with tweaking the Universe, you can use a reverse Sun.

First, the cosmic radiation background needs to be significantly hotter than today's 3K. This requires to either have the story take place very early in the history of the Universe - there may not be time enough for suitable planets or for life to evolve, but who knows? - or it can take place in an alternate Universe where starting parameters are different.

Then, the world orbits a black hole. Instead of having a Sun that heat things up and a sky that lets heat escape (cooling things down), you have a sky that heats things up and a black hole that lets heat escape instead. The end result is more or less the same as far as thermodynamics and entropy, and by extension, conditions for life.

Here is an article about the concept. Note that the concept could theoretically work with our 3K background radiation, and you can maybe bump it up with nearby stars, but the available energy would be so low, whatever life there would be unlike anything we know.


  • $\begingroup$ --cue Soundgarden-- $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2017 at 4:19

For a technological fix, you could have a statite hovering over the north pole and reflecting more sunlight, to heat it up. Or even beaming down microwaves in large quantities to heat everything water-based.

  • $\begingroup$ This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review $\endgroup$
    – Azuaron
    Oct 12, 2017 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ This isn't even possible, you cant have a geosynchronous orbit over a pole. $\endgroup$
    – anon
    Oct 12, 2017 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @anon Do read the Wikipedia article to find out how you can. This has been an announcement in the service of better education. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Oct 13, 2017 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Azuaron This entirely does provide a way for there to be a hot pole and a cold pole. Please reconsider your misclassification of my answer. It may not be a very good answer, but it's a possibility, if that's what the author wanted to write about. $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2017 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @anon as a4android said, please read the statite article on wikipedia. Statites are not in geosynchronous orbit, or any other orbit at all; they are constantly accelerating due to lightsail pressure, so they can remain in place over any spot they like. $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2017 at 3:39

Just align the axis of rotation of the planet so the North Pole, which is magnetic North, is pointed more toward the planet's sun. A direct alignment would make it too hot more desert than tropical, the planet would also need a slight wobble that is in syn with it's yearly orbit of the sun to keep the south pole pointed more away from the sun. This mis-alignment may need to be explained in some pre-history of the planet, like an asteroid knocked it out of alignment, because most rotations are closer to perpendicular with the orbital path due to the rotation of the accretion disk at time of creation.

To answer your sub questions;

  1. Doesn't quite work like you'd think just to have a thin atmosphere, more solar radiation comes in during the day but also more radiant heat leaves at night.

  2. Might be easier than you think to keep particulates in one hemisphere or the other. The nuclear winter cloud would be positively ionized particles that are attracted to the south/negative magnetic field and dispersed by things like the coriolis effect so that it's not all clustered right at the pole. You wouldn't even need the volcanoes, you just need some deposition of opaque particles; asteroids and droughts (See Dust Bowl) might work there too.

Without Extreme Wobble:

Kepler's second law states that a line between the sun and the planet sweeps equal areas in equal times. So if your planet's orbit is elliptical and you maintain that it's wobble is similar to earth's then you can still keep the southern pole cold by assuming that when that pole is pointing toward the sun that part of the orbit goes by too fast to heat it up significantly (summer in Antarctica) and then the rest of the orbit the northern pole is facing the sun for longer, the flux is less at the furthest point but this wouldn't necessarily negate the tropical/equator like conditions, be more like winter near the equator, cooler but still too warm for ice/snow.

  • $\begingroup$ What do you think happens half a year later? (Rhetorical question: the axis does not stay pointed at the star... so half a year later it is the south that is pointed at the star) $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Oct 10, 2017 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelK, I did include "need a slight wobble that is in syn with it's yearly orbit of the sun to keep the south pole pointed more away from the sun" it is also possible that a rotating orbiting object keeps one face to the object it orbits, like our moon, but with a sun that would mean eternal day unless there is "wobble" that only lets the axis face toward the sun. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ You cannot get that kind of wobble... not one that makes it so that one pole always faces the star while the planet is still rotating around the axis . You are grossly violating conservation of angular momentum that way. $\endgroup$
    – MichaelK
    Oct 10, 2017 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ @VoidSerpent So would it be possible for the poles and equator to have tropical climate but still having the south pole be cooled using the opaque particles $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ For uniform spherical bodies I agree, but planets are neither uniform nor perfect spheres, taking into account things like the Huygens–Steiner theorem you can account for minor angular changes of the rotating object, especially when the wobble is due to an outside impact. Earth's own axis wobbles, every six to 14 years, the spin axis wobbles about 20 to 60 inches (0.5 to 1.5 meters) either east or west of its general direction of drift. Other planets could be more extreme or even have different orbit parameters that compensate to a happy medium. $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2017 at 15:38

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