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Suppose we change the axis of the earth and make it vertical to the solar system

  1. Feb 3, 2008 #1
    ... so that there are no seasons and it's spring forever?

    It would make many species go extinct. But is it possibly a good thing in the longer term?

    Imagine it's summer forever, like in Equador. Or spring forever, like in a flower conservatory.

    Is there anything wrong with this, other than causing mass extinction of many species that fail to adapt?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2008 #2
    I couldn't even begin to imagine the extent of the impact on the different regional climates. Most parts of the world presently experience seasonal weather variability. Removing that is bound to create chaos. In the long term though, I suppose we'd end up with a generally habitable planet, probably with a more stable climate than the one we have now.
  4. Feb 5, 2008 #3
    This would produce another ice age, and likely for the next billion years or so until the sun heats up enough to get us out of it.

    Without seasons it won't get warm enough to melt snow above 60 degrees. This is a much bigger change than the Milankovich cycles, wich produced ice ages during the last 5 million years.
  5. Feb 5, 2008 #4
    If Ever I Would Leave You

    Music by Frederick Loewe and Words by Alan Jay Lerner
    from the Broadway musical "Camelot"

    If ever I would leave you, it wouldn't be in summer
    Seeing you in summer, I never would go
    Your hair streaked with sunlight, your lips red as flame
    Your face with a luster that puts gold to shame

    But if I'd ever leave you, it couldn't be in autumn
    How I'd leave in autumn, I never will know
    I've seen how you sparkle when fall nips the air
    I know you in autumn and I must be there

    And could I leave you running merrily through the snow
    Or on a wintry evening when you catch the fire's glow

    If ever I would leave you, how could it be in springtime
    Knowing how in spring I'm bewitched by you so
    Oh, no, not in springtime, summer, winter, or fall
    No never could I leave you at all
  6. Feb 5, 2008 #5
    > it won't get warm enough to melt snow above 60 degrees

    How did you work out the 60 degrees?

    And the billion years? :wink:

    Sorry but you're not talking to people who are in the dark about physics. We appreciate logical development of argument, a line of thought that leads to this result or another, or references. Otherwise it's not interesting.

    Cause anybody can pretend to be an expert and make up numbers.
  7. Feb 5, 2008 #6
    It would be summer in the equador, sprint in the tropics, autumn in a bit farther and winter near the poles.
  8. Feb 6, 2008 #7
    Because of the 23.5 obliquity of the earth-axis, the poles get much more sunlight than they would have without it and the tropics get less.

    This is solar power received at the top of the atmosphere as a fraction of
    the solar constant (1368 W/m^2)

    The first column is for an earth with the poles straight up (or the current earth
    at 21 march/september). The second column is the insolation of the current earth
    averaged over a year.

    obl obl
    lat. 0 23,5
    0 0.3183 0.3050
    10 0.3134 0.3008
    20 0.2991 0.2883
    30 0.2756 0.2681
    40 0.2438 0.2411
    50 0.2046 0.2088
    60 0.1591 0.1739
    70 0.1088 0.1453
    80 0.0552 0.1321
    90 0 0.1281

    In the current climate there is not enough sun to melt the snow in alaska, northern canada, and most of siberia at 21 march, or melt ice in the arctic. If the sun never gets higher, this means the snow won't disappear, and sea ice won't melt. snow and ice reflect more sunlight than water or soil, so it will get even colder and the snow won't melt in a larger area. These changes in insolation are much larger than the changes in insolations caused by the variations in eccentricity of the earth orbit, precession of the earth axis and obliquity that are currently believed to trigger ice ages.
  9. Feb 6, 2008 #8
    So with a lot more water locked up in ice the sea level would fall creating more land to live on in the temperate zone. I guess it would be too hot to live at the equator?
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