A study of the bizarre climate of the fictional Game of Thrones world has been published, Earther reports. The study delves deep into the show's famous phrase "winter is coming," looking at how seasons in the book and the HBO show can last for so incredibly long. It also looks at the effect of possible greenhouse gas increases in the planet's atmosphere "due to [...] carbon dioxide and methane emissions from dragons, and the excessive use of wildfire."
Authored by none other than Samwell Tarly, a student studying to become a Maester at the Citadel, Westeros’ renowned center of learning, the study is affiliated with the UK's University of Bristol. The University makes note that the climate model simulations "were not funded in any way, and were set up in the author’s spare time."
The findings? Those long seasons are due to a "tumbling" of the planet's axis. From the study:
"In terms of the transition between the two seasons, my assumption is that the planet is fixed in a permanent season over several years due to the tumbling of the tilt 60 of its spinning axis, but that the tilt flips every few years to give the opposite season. The reason for this flip is unclear, but may be a passing comet, or just the magic of the Seven (or magic of the red Lord of Light if your name is Melisandre)"
Tarly postulates that the Lannister's home of Casterly Rock has a climate that resembles Houston, Texas, and Changsha, China while the climate of The Wall resembles that of Lapland, Finland. From the study:
"It is of interest to compare the climate of the world of Game of Thrones with that of the ‘real’ Earth. Following the methodology of Brown (2013), here I identify those places in the ‘real’ Earth that have similar winter or summer climates to familiar landmarks in Westeros. 70 For the purposes of this work, I consider a ‘similar’ climate to be one that is within 3.5◦C in terms of seasonal temperature, and within about 0.4 mm/day in terms of seasonal rainfall/snowfall. This analysis (see Figure 7) shows that The Wall in winter has a similar climate 75 to several regions in the ‘real’ Earth, including parts of Alaska (including Fairbanks), Canada, western Greenland, and Russia. In addition, there is a small region in northern Sweden and Finland, encompassing parts of Lapland, that also has a similar winter climate to that of 80 the Wall (I always suspected that Maester St. Nicholas was a member of the Night’s Watch)."
To kill some time before the next and final season of HBO's Game of Thrones arrives, which will be sometime in 2019, head here to read the mock study in its entirety.