Questions tagged [environment]

For questions about an environment or aspects of it such as geographical, atmospheric or climate.

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24
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2answers
1k views

What effect would liquid sulfur oceans, sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere have on visibility, sound propagation and other environmental information?

EDIT: I eventually managed to find the absorption spectra of SO2 online - it absorbs in the ultraviolet range only, not in the visible light range, so the only factor affecting light transmitting ...
23
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8answers
7k views

How can a valley surrounded by mountains be fertile and rainy?

We all know about Rain Shadow - And if you don't now you do - and that the inner side of a mountain as compared to the ocean would be drier. Now a worldbuiding problem going around that phenomenon. ...
22
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6answers
9k views

Is my world map unrealistic?

Just to say this first, the map is intentionally on a slant, and so the Northern cold areas are displayed at more of a North-West Angle, for example. I am designing the world from scratch, and am ...
22
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3answers
790 views

How much land area do my land-based animals (herbivores) need for food?

I'm trying to work out the kinks of an ecosystem on a planet that is rather similar to Earth, but with some species of animal (both carnivores and herbivores) we aren't familiar with in our world. The ...
21
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10answers
5k views

What would cause a region of land to become barren over several decades?

I have a region in my novel called the Burren where some event many years prior caused the once relatively lush hills of farmland to become a barren desert. The desert expands little by little every ...
21
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21answers
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Is it possible to have a habitable planet unsuitable for agriculture?

I want to have a planet similar to earth with 45% axial tilt when hunter gatherers have an advantage over agriculture. The only thing I could think of is far north(Siberia, Alaska) & Sahara desert,...
21
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9answers
2k views

Polar Heat, Equatorial Cold - Climatic Effects of Inverted Global Temperatures

How does inverting global temperatures affect climate? Here exists a fantasy world similar to earth in all important ways. Except, however, that global temperatures have been flipped; it is coldest ...
21
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3answers
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Effects of a non-rotating Earth

Earth has stopped rotating. Maybe Superman started flying around the Earth backwards to turn back time, but hit a wall of kryptonite just when the Earth stopped rotating. Or Stupendous Man hit the ...
21
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5answers
1k views

Land coral and filter feeding

I had posted a question recently for my world building project concerning fungal lifeforms in place of traditional plants in a certain region of a tidally locked world. Had really good and informative ...
20
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17answers
8k views

Avoiding preventing your own birth in a time travel paradox?

Assume a world with no multiverse theory, just a single unbroken timeline. If you were to go back in time to the town your parents lived in on day of your conception, the air displacement due to your ...
20
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9answers
4k views

What would be the state of decay in an abandoned city?

I'm writing a novel which takes place in a Middle-ages-type world with magic. The heroes come across an abandoned city in the middle of a deciduous forest. The climate is temperate with rare snowfall ...
20
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3answers
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How effective are bomb shelters for nuclear attacks

I was wondering how effective nuclear shelters actually are? If you assume that your house is equipped with a bomb shelter (aka fall-out shelter). The construction of the shelter is not over the top, ...
20
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6answers
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Is there a man-made or natural event that can cause an abrupt climate change within hours/a day?

Meaning, cause a seemingly normal winter to suddenly take a turn within hours or a day/two into a completely frozen territory? From what I've read, abrupt climate change happens from ocean currents. ...
20
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12answers
972 views

Can massive military land vehicles be made practical?

The largest self-powered vehicle in the world is the NASA crawler-transporter, a 2700 ton machine designed to transport the Space Shuttle a short distance and in a straight line. During WW2, German ...
19
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4answers
6k views

Could moose/elk survive in the Amazon forest?

In my story, there is a civilization living in the Amazon rainforest. They need some time of mount that is adapted to the forest. I don't think horses can survive by themselves in there, so I was ...
19
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9answers
5k views

Why build underwater outposts, rather than ocean-surface settlements?

Suppose we've colonized a planet with 99% of the surface area covered by oceans. It has submerged continental crusts, averaging 200-500m underwater, with the average depth of open ocean being 1000-...
19
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7answers
3k views

Suddenly, you live in the dark!

Imagine that you lived in this world: The planet has a diameter of 5000 km. The rotation time is the same as the orbital period. And here it comes: the orbital period is 1027 years. The planet's ...
19
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6answers
2k views

How do I figure out how many people my domed city on a hostile planet can support?

I have a colony of humans on Mars, living in enclosed cities to maintain breathable air. (If they need to leave, they suit up.) Assuming modern-day technology, how do I figure out how many people a ...
19
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7answers
2k views

Could a moon or planet exist with “puddles” of breathable air in deep craters?

Could a moon or planet with otherwise no atmosphere maintain gas pockets in sufficiently deep craters, and could it be habitable by humans without pressure or space suits? I found this similar ...
19
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4answers
2k views

How to create the eternal storm?

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the numerous Great White Spots on Saturn are storm systems that encircle the globes and last for decades, centuries in Jupiter's case. These are formed on Gas Giants ...
19
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4answers
626 views

Can a world sustain constant low-pressure and high-pressure areas?

Would a world be able to sustain a constant low pressure area such that there would be a constant wind from one side to the other? Imagine that on one side of the world is a desert with some rocky ...
18
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11answers
5k views

How can a portal that connects two planets affect the environment?

In my world there are two planets within the same solar system, which are connected approximately every seven cycles through a portal that opens for a few days. The planets are very similar. The ...
18
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4answers
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Can Deserts and Plainslands be geographically close?

Deserts are defined by their hostility to flora and fauna and a distinct lack of rain. Plains are simply relatively smooth areas of land. My question is how much area would be required to have a shift ...
18
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5answers
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Can visible light be blocked while still allowing for light for plants to survive to pass through?

What I'm thinking for this question is that some kind of filter is put around the sun by aliens that prevents some kinds of solar energy from passing through but allows other types. Like if it ...
18
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3answers
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Could ancient seeds buried deep in subsoil sprout given the right conditions?

A friend of mine was telling me about a story where a man clear cut a diverse ecosystem of plants in an area similar to size and shape of a small caldera (not necessarily a caldera itself). ...
18
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6answers
2k views

So we've survived the apocalypse. What's next?

The year is 2032. The location, rural midwest North America. A decade ago, a plague wiped out almost every living human. There weren't even enough survivors to bury the dead. Secondary plagues rose ...
18
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3answers
707 views

A World Without Bugs

Winter is finally upon us! With winter comes a delightful break from the year-round torment of bugs flying your face. Winter is cold - as a result, you can peacefully breathe the winter air without ...
18
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2answers
860 views

Food sources for an undergound city

Lets assume a city exists underground, either in natural caves or synthetic tunnels. Are there any food sources underground, and what kind of population can they support?
17
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6answers
5k views

Can a habitable planet have two separate crusts, both of which can sustain life?

Can a habitable planet have two separate crusts, both of which can sustain life? I am wondering if through the planet's creation, over time through some form of mantle cooling/erosion combination, ...
17
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7answers
2k views

What would push a civilization to terraform a planet considering the complexity of this process?

Terraforming is the process of transforming a celestial body to become habitable by Earth-like life. Even when I try to imagine an advanced civilization, the cost, time and complexity to terraform a ...
17
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14answers
3k views

Retroactively modifying humans for Earth?

I understand, of course, that humans evolved for this exact environment! However, if you could travel back in time 2,000 years and modify our species (without any unintended health consequences), ...
17
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6answers
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Is it possible for life to evolve on planets without water?

*By life, I mean something more complex than microorganisms. Something closer to what we have on Earth. similar to this question: Is it possible for complex life to evolve on planets without oxygen? ...
17
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5answers
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Is it possible for complex life to evolve on planets without oxygen?

*By complex life, I mean something more complex than microorganisms. Something closer to what we have on Earth. similar to this question: Is it possible for life to evolve on planets without water? ...
17
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7answers
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What would be the next technological step for a civilization after it has depleted all resources that allow for conventional technologies?

Imagine a world that reaches the end of its resources in silicon, petrol, coal, metals... everything that allows for conventional technology — even before it has found a way over it (renewable energy ...
16
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16answers
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How to cause an exodus from the west coast of the United States inland?

What I Need I need to bring about a scenario where most, if not all, of the west coast has been abandoned before the alien-robot-zombie apocalypse wreaks havoc on the world. Sweet, sweet havoc! ...
16
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14answers
3k views

Is a world with two different types of air possible?

Is it possible to have a world that meets the following conditions? • There are two types of air (in term of its gas mixture) • Each type of air has its own creatures which cannot survive in the ...
16
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7answers
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How large can an Earth species be in 2016 without being discovered?

Preface With all technology discovered prior to this question, on today's planet, there are still some things we have not observed - which may be used to justify introducing new life forms, right here ...
16
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5answers
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What would produce the most uneven but earthlike planetary surface?

What planetary parameters such as plate tectonics and volcanism etc would best encourage the most uneven planetary surface on an earth like planet? I want a world to be covered in very uneven terrain,...
16
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2answers
190 views

Primary environmental concerns of a new coastal settlement

A group of settlers from a mid-renaissance era have setup an initial settlement along a coastline. Materials for shelter exist and fishing serves as the initial food source. What are the primary ...
16
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5answers
645 views

World Map - How can I tell if the Ecosystems are realistic?

I'm trying to create a world map for my fantasy novel. My problem is that I love designing things, and I'm finding myself bogged down with figuring out how desert A got where it is, and how plain B's ...
16
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5answers
781 views

How can I figure out the territorial needs for my Werewolves?

There are lots of different creatures that are loosely based on wolves. The most prominent one is probably the Werewolf, a mix of a human and a wolf. But there are also others, such as Dire Wolves or ...
15
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18answers
5k views

How can a nation of amazons avoid being invaded by their neighbors?

There is a large island populated entirely by women. Men are not allowed on the island and are killed or taken prisoner if they attempt to land. These females train to be warriors from the day they ...
15
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9answers
6k views

Could a Weapon of Mass Destruction, targeting only humans, be developed?

Specifically, if deployed on a town. The buildings, animals (flora and fauna) would be completely untouched, but not a single human would survive the blow. Secondly, if this is possible, what gene, ...
15
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6answers
7k views

What are the most important raw resources for a human colony?

I'm working on colony development. The word is similar to the earth around 5000–4000 B.C. and humans basically known how to hunt, farm, build houses/structures and share their knowledge between ...
15
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6answers
3k views

Planet with dual core

My premise involves a habitable planet with a dual core: it has two masses similar in composition to Earth's core, which revolve around each other over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. ...
15
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7answers
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How can I tell I've travelled 20 million years into the future?

Story starts out about 100 years from now. While in orbit around Earth preparing for an interstellar mission, our spacecraft encounters some hand-wavey spacetime anomaly such that we're still in ...
15
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3answers
893 views

Under what pressure/temperature conditions could ammonia or hydrogen fluoride play the role of water in an alien ecosystem?

From my understanding, many of the features of water that make it very important for Earth's ecosystem are a result of oxygen's high electronegativity, which results in hydrogen bonding. As nitrogen ...
14
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11answers
3k views

Architectural considerations for a city in a wind tunnel

A city-state has developed in the middle of a (magical) desert which is subjected to a constant wind and always regenerating its sand. This wind is gale force, always blows in a straight line from ...
14
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7answers
3k views

What would happen if a society dumped radioactive nuclear waste into their oceans?

Assuming a planet with (water) oceans and technology similar to that on (current) earth, but instead of storing the radioactive waste in caves, they just dumped it into the ocean (in strong, heavy ...
14
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6answers
2k views

Keeping someone warm in a freezing location with medieval technology

A quest line in my game features the kidnapping of someone from The Hotlands to an area known as The Ice Hills. The people from The Hotlands require a hot body temperature to function correctly, and ...