Arcen Games

Games => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: x4000 on January 21, 2015, 01:39:11 PM

Title: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: x4000 on January 21, 2015, 01:39:11 PM
Hey guys, I'm trying to get my science right and there are a lot of science-minded folks here.  So I thought I'd discuss some things with you regarding temperature manipulation on a planet (in a sci-fi sense).

First of all, I'm going to say that I'm taking some liberties to begin with, because for purposes of atmospheric competition I have to ignore the effect of greenhouses on global temperature.  That seems like a big oversight, but realistically it's something that could be compensated for via plant life fluctuation, ocean currents, volcanic activity, etc.  Even something a simple as the daisyworld idea.  So if we're talking about a sentient planet here, let's assume that it has ways of keeping its temperature within the range it wants regardless of greenhouse gasses.

Okay, oops, but now we have a problem.  The planet has some natural temperature fluctuations to begin with, and that's fine.  But now I need sources of cooling and heating that simply cannot be compensated for via the measures I've mentioned above.  That's fine, I've been thinking of those methods for a while anyway.

This planet is out on its own, and is quite large.  So the only two sources of heat for it (that I can think of) are its own core, and the heat from its sun.  It wouldn't have any Europa-style heat being generated by gravitational forces with a nearby planetary body or anything like that.

So, let's talk about the ways we could mess with the sun -- without putting anything into orbit, mind you, so no soletta arrays:
1. The main thing I can think of is volcanic activity that thrusts ash into the air.  That's something that physically blocks light, and thus causes a loss of temperature that can't be compensated for by the planet in any way that I can think of.  Or at least, given sufficient ash in the atmosphere, the planet would consistently lose ground temperature-wise.  So that's cooling.
2. How on earth would we cause more heat to either reach the planet from the sun, or remain in the atmosphere as energy that does not escape, though?  Greenhouse gasses would be the normal answer, but if we're saying that can be compensated for, I'm not sure there's a good answer here.  And if there's not, that's okay, I planned for that possibility.

So now let's talk about the planet's core.  How can we mess with THAT to adjust temperature?  This I'm a lot less sure about.  I have some really half-baked ideas, but the goal would be to have basically underground structures that we could use to drill way down and cause heating or cooling.

Thoughts?
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Draco18s on January 21, 2015, 02:28:23 PM
Good question.
I wish I had a good answer.

Only thing I can think of I'm stealing from Isaac Azimov.  In one of the Robot (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot_series_%28Asimov%29) books there was a guy who figured out what made Earth unique and due to the waning interest in humanity for colonizing the stars, came up with a way to force people to leave Earth:  Set the natural (and unusually high) uranium in the crust on nuclear fire.

At low levels it would produce a gradual increase in the amount of harmful radiation and increase the surface temperature.  At high levels it would incinerate everyone quickly enough that they couldn't evacuate (still talking "years" worth of time, just fast enough that the exodus ships couldn't be constructed in time).

But under controlled circumstances I could see it as a regulation measure for the planet's inhabitants.  Crank it up if it's too cold.  Sure the planet's sentient, but we're talking about subverting its own "bio"logy against it to do what WE want.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: x4000 on January 21, 2015, 02:29:59 PM
Oh, I love that!  That's a super clever way to handle that, thanks. :D
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: steelwing on January 21, 2015, 02:53:56 PM
Hey guys, I'm trying to get my science right and there are a lot of science-minded folks here.  So I thought I'd discuss some things with you regarding temperature manipulation on a planet (in a sci-fi sense).

First of all, I'm going to say that I'm taking some liberties to begin with, because for purposes of atmospheric competition I have to ignore the effect of greenhouses on global temperature.  That seems like a big oversight, but realistically it's something that could be compensated for via plant life fluctuation, ocean currents, volcanic activity, etc.  Even something a simple as the daisyworld idea.  So if we're talking about a sentient planet here, let's assume that it has ways of keeping its temperature within the range it wants regardless of greenhouse gasses.

Okay, oops, but now we have a problem.  The planet has some natural temperature fluctuations to begin with, and that's fine.  But now I need sources of cooling and heating that simply cannot be compensated for via the measures I've mentioned above.  That's fine, I've been thinking of those methods for a while anyway.

This planet is out on its own, and is quite large.  So the only two sources of heat for it (that I can think of) are its own core, and the heat from its sun.  It wouldn't have any Europa-style heat being generated by gravitational forces with a nearby planetary body or anything like that.

So, let's talk about the ways we could mess with the sun -- without putting anything into orbit, mind you, so no soletta arrays:
1. The main thing I can think of is volcanic activity that thrusts ash into the air.  That's something that physically blocks light, and thus causes a loss of temperature that can't be compensated for by the planet in any way that I can think of.  Or at least, given sufficient ash in the atmosphere, the planet would consistently lose ground temperature-wise.  So that's cooling.
2. How on earth would we cause more heat to either reach the planet from the sun, or remain in the atmosphere as energy that does not escape, though?  Greenhouse gasses would be the normal answer, but if we're saying that can be compensated for, I'm not sure there's a good answer here.  And if there's not, that's okay, I planned for that possibility.

So now let's talk about the planet's core.  How can we mess with THAT to adjust temperature?  This I'm a lot less sure about.  I have some really half-baked ideas, but the goal would be to have basically underground structures that we could use to drill way down and cause heating or cooling.

Thoughts?
Re:  Greenhouse gases - Those can be compensated for, but what if the level of such gases being generated outpaced what could be compensated for?  Or is that making things to complex for implementation?
Re:  The planet's core - The "simplest" solution is seismic activity.  To really mess with that, you need gravitational sources strong enough to do something to the planet.  We're talking moons and other planets.  Gravitational theory also posits that you could use a coherent beam of gravitons (commonly called a "graser"), but that would be something "man"-made and would take highly-advanced technology.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: topper on January 21, 2015, 03:21:35 PM
So now let's talk about the planet's core.  How can we mess with THAT to adjust temperature?  This I'm a lot less sure about.  I have some really half-baked ideas, but the goal would be to have basically underground structures that we could use to drill way down and cause heating or cooling.

Changing the strength of the planet's magnetic field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth%27s_magnetic_field) will allow more/less solar radiation to reach the surface. Another effect of a reduced magnetic field could be the solar wind stripping off of the ozone layer which protects the planet from harmful quantities of ultraviolet radiation.

This could possibly be accomplished by generating geomagnetic storms (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomagnetic_storm) from the surface, or by slowing the rotation of the molten core of the planet and reducing the geodynamo effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamo_theory).

The second option could trigger a counter mission to send a drilling team to the core (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Core) of the planet to detonate nuclear devices to restart the core's rotation.  :P
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: x4000 on January 21, 2015, 04:38:39 PM
Ah, very cool ideas!  I had not thought about the magnetic field for whatever reason.  If that were stripped away, would the atmosphere start to gradually leak out into space as well as more radiation coming in?  You mentioned the ozone layer, but I thought that part of the reason Mars is unable to have much atmosphere is because it also has no magnetic field.  I am fuzzy on the specifics, it's been a while since I've read about that.  Despite just having read (and loved) The Martian.

Setting the natural uranium on fire is a really intriguing concept, too.  I also need a really good way of letting the player race decide to irreversibly destroy the planet, and going with more creatively plausible options than just "lots of bombs" would be really fun.  It's not something I have started researching yet at all, actually, but ideas along those lines are very interesting.

The graser is also really fascinating -- and the fact that it would be man-made is ideal, because for purposes of the player race and the computer races, they would be using man-made machines to bring about these various effects.  How exactly the planet compensates for what they are doing is something that... I don't know.  Maybe I should make that explicit in the game, too, I'm not sure.

The greenhouse gases are something that aren't too complicated to do the math for -- usually the math for something like that is fairly straightforward when we're talking a simulated approximation.  The problem is that ideally I'd like for these systems to be decoupled for gameplay purposes.  BUT.  Based on what is being noted here, it's actually striking me that making these all loosely coupled would be far more interesting.

So, let's think about this in terms of what the races can do:
1. They can create artificial surface volcanos or volcanic vents to increase ash in the atmosphere, blocking out the sun.
2. They are already competing on atmospheric mix, and some of the mixes are more greenhouse-based than others.
3. They could mess with the magnetic field in a couple of ways mentioned.
4. They could start massive underground uranium fires.
5. They could use a graser to trigger deep seismic activity that would... do what exactly?  Affect the core's rotation, thus leading to those geomagnetic storms?
6. ??

In terms of what the sentient planet is doing during all of this in order to try to maintain its own equilibrium temperature range (it doesn't care about atmospheric mix):
1. Presumably it needs to be able to adjust its own core's spin, albeit slowly, in order to mess with magnetism?
2. Presumably it can also modify the amount of ash in the air by either venting or not-venting ash into the atmosphere?
3. Any clever ideas on things it could do with the grasslands and/or deserts and/or snowy areas that would change heat loss or retention to compensate for atmospheric mix?  That could be represented visually and would be really cool to show, actually.  I'm thinking like popping out increasing numbers of light flowers or similar.  Daisyworld is pretty simple, though...
4. Presumably it can do some sort of seismic activity intentionally, deep or otherwise.
5. I suppose it could do tricks similar to the uranium burning as well, but how it would stop that process I have no idea.
6. ??


I always love talking with you guys -- you come up with such crazy clever stuff!  The atmospheric mix is already implemented, and the effects of the temperature fluctuations are, as well.  But now I'm envisioning adding in not just ways to manage the temperature, but also a view where you can see what the planet itself is doing in order to mess with that.

Very very fun. :)  Though I will say that I'm still lost on some of the specifics here in terms of what I can plausibly get away with in some of these areas.  Further thoughts very welcome, heh.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: topper on January 21, 2015, 06:00:57 PM
Ah, very cool ideas!  I had not thought about the magnetic field for whatever reason.  If that were stripped away, would the atmosphere start to gradually leak out into space as well as more radiation coming in?  You mentioned the ozone layer, but I thought that part of the reason Mars is unable to have much atmosphere is because it also has no magnetic field.  I am fuzzy on the specifics, it's been a while since I've read about that.  Despite just having read (and loved) The Martian.

-snip-

5. They could use a graser to trigger deep seismic activity that would... do what exactly?  Affect the core's rotation, thus leading to those geomagnetic storms?
6. ??

Let me preface that I am no expert on this subject, but here is my understanding:
The magnetic field is responsible for deflecting charged particles in the solar wind (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_wind). These same particle in the solar wind would be otherwise interact with other charged atmospheric particles and carry them away from earth (picture spraying a dirty object with a hose).

One of these important charged particles in the atmosphere is ozone O3. The Ozone layer is a very important since:
Quote
The ozone layer absorbs 97–99% of the Sun's medium-frequency ultraviolet light (from about 200 nm to 315 nm wavelength), which otherwise would potentially damage exposed life forms near the surface
from wikipedia.

Less magnetic shielding would possibly lead to:
a) more uv radiation hitting the surface (and possible surface heating)
b) eventual loss of atmosphere density
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: mrhanman on January 22, 2015, 12:25:02 AM
Ah, very cool ideas!  I had not thought about the magnetic field for whatever reason.  If that were stripped away, would the atmosphere start to gradually leak out into space as well as more radiation coming in?  You mentioned the ozone layer, but I thought that part of the reason Mars is unable to have much atmosphere is because it also has no magnetic field.  I am fuzzy on the specifics, it's been a while since I've read about that.

Yep, that's pretty close.  Mars' core cooled over time, stopping its magnetic field.  Over more time, the solar wind stripped away the atmosphere leaving us with the freezing, hellish desert planet we all know and love.

To heat the world in-game, maybe the planet could cause black or dark colored plant-life to grow densely the world over, causing it to absorb more solar energy.  Conversely, white plant-life would reflect solar energy back out to space, kind of like the Snowball Earth Theory.  I think it would take a lot to make an appreciable difference, though.

Regionally, the temperature could be altered by modifying the wind patterns.  Either bringing in more tropical or arctic air, depending on the effect required.

Quote
Despite just having read (and loved) The Martian.

I just finished this, too.  It was such an enjoyable read I could hardly put it down and finished it in two days.  I'm not excited to see how Hollywood and Matt Damon ruin the movie later this year.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: steelwing on January 22, 2015, 08:29:14 AM
So, let's think about this in terms of what the races can do:
1. They can create artificial surface volcanos or volcanic vents to increase ash in the atmosphere, blocking out the sun.
2. They are already competing on atmospheric mix, and some of the mixes are more greenhouse-based than others.
3. They could mess with the magnetic field in a couple of ways mentioned.
4. They could start massive underground uranium fires.
5. They could use a graser to trigger deep seismic activity that would... do what exactly?  Affect the core's rotation, thus leading to those geomagnetic storms?
6. ??
As others have said, I'm fuzzy about what exactly would happen at the geological level.  The main thing that would happen is to alter the tidal stresses on the planet the way our moon does for Earth.  That leads to tectonic shifts in the planet's plates.  Depending on the severity or violence of the shift, we're talking the following possibilities:
If there are multiple grasers in action (at least 4), the competing sources of tidal stress could make things really interesting.  Start with volcanic fissures, fresh lava flows, and let your imagination run wild. ;)

Quote
In terms of what the sentient planet is doing during all of this in order to try to maintain its own equilibrium temperature range (it doesn't care about atmospheric mix):
1. Presumably it needs to be able to adjust its own core's spin, albeit slowly, in order to mess with magnetism?
2. Presumably it can also modify the amount of ash in the air by either venting or not-venting ash into the atmosphere?
3. Any clever ideas on things it could do with the grasslands and/or deserts and/or snowy areas that would change heat loss or retention to compensate for atmospheric mix?  That could be represented visually and would be really cool to show, actually.  I'm thinking like popping out increasing numbers of light flowers or similar.  Daisyworld is pretty simple, though...
4. Presumably it can do some sort of seismic activity intentionally, deep or otherwise.
5. I suppose it could do tricks similar to the uranium burning as well, but how it would stop that process I have no idea.
6. ??
O.O Sentient planet?  Are we talking a planet-spanning intelligence borne by local plant/animal life (a la SMAC), or a planet that fully thinks for itself (a la REUS)?  Either way, there's a lot of cool possibilities.  :D
I'm not sure how it could make itself spin faster, but it can sure manage its own volcanoes and other seismic activity.  It can also control moisture levels in any given part itself, making one area dryer and another more wet.  Changes in moisture lead to changes in climate.  If it can control its own spin, that alters climatological patterns, also.

Quote
I always love talking with you guys -- you come up with such crazy clever stuff!  The atmospheric mix is already implemented, and the effects of the temperature fluctuations are, as well.  But now I'm envisioning adding in not just ways to manage the temperature, but also a view where you can see what the planet itself is doing in order to mess with that.

Very very fun. :)  Though I will say that I'm still lost on some of the specifics here in terms of what I can plausibly get away with in some of these areas.  Further thoughts very welcome, heh.
It's awesome having these kinds of conversations with fellow geeks. :D
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Ganimed on January 23, 2015, 05:41:23 PM
Earth's temperature variations are primarily a consequence of its axial tilt and its distance from the Sun. However, they are compensated by huge amounts of water because it can absorb a lot of heat and store it for a long time. There are several ways the atmospheric temperature could be changed, but they are all either very energy expansive or time consuming. However, if we presume these obstacles could be surmounted there are a number of options. A race could build huge engines which could alter the planets path around the star or build big boilers which would heat up the oceans. Apart from that I'm not sure how much more a planet's inhabitant could do in a reasonable amount of time.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: topper on January 23, 2015, 10:29:22 PM
Ooh, how about this one:

The planet could jettison mass out into space to change the orbital radius from the sun.  :o
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: relmz32 on January 27, 2015, 07:18:44 AM
Ooh, how about this one:

The planet could jettison mass out into space to change the orbital radius from the sun.  :o

yeah, like the other enemy races.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: DrFranknfurter on January 27, 2015, 10:40:00 AM
I think wikipedia has some interesting and relevant pages. Since changing the planet temperature requires changing radiation the obvious answers are changing the albedo of the land and the sea. But on the Terraforming of Venus page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Venus
There is discussion of the potential for floating cities to reflect solar radiation back into space (and for them to be built out of carbon), for hydrogen to be used to turn the thick clouds of carbon dioxide into nice water oceans and carbon ... and there's mention of just how much energy would be required to change planetary rotation speed (orders of magnitude greater than trying to blast away the atmosphere with 2000 700km long asteroids impacting at 20km/s... so not really practical if you want an intact planet sometime in the next million years.

There is also discussion on using ammonia, hydocarbons, carbon dioxide and fluorine containing CFCs as greenhouse gasses on Mars for increasing temperatures.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming_of_Mars

To combine both ideas:
Reflective cities that focus a coherent, continuous beam of light on interstellar objects, gently changing their trajectories. Required trace elements would then be delivered via rapid (scheduled) disassembly over uncolonised land and sea. Or, if it's the planet that's doing it... rapid unscheduled disassembly of cities. 

Personally I quite like the idea of different interactions between life and the planet. So generating or withholding water would be interesting. If the planet really hates you then the water levels could mysteriously start to drop. Locked away in minerals, trapped in deep cavities, underground lakes and oceans. (if it's the core of the planet that is alive). Or the water could become tainted with pollutants making it difficult to use (poisoning catalysts or people) while simultaneously altering the albedo of the oceans.
e.g.
The rivers run red with blooms of Pyrrophyta, equipment begins to rust and degrade. As they die they turn black and release countless years of stored carbon biomass into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and an oily sludge settles on the surface of the sea. Simultaneously changing increasing greenhouse gasses, decreases albedo, availability of food and of safe drinking water. (increases CO2, decreases albedo, decreases food output globally)
 
The rivers run green with acidobacteria previously common in the soil but now, suddenly hyper-active and corrosive. More than just carbon dioxide dissolves into the water as they feed on inorganic minerals and draw energy from every available source. The soil begins to glitter with a billion tiny reflective crystals and glassy beads float on a sea the thickness and colour of pea soup. (lowers CO2, increases albedo, lowers mineral resource outputs)

A milky white fungal mat creeps over rivers and mountains, heralding the coming snowfall. I just like the idea of a milky river pouring out to sea, with a ground surface that looks a little like this: (http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1546351/thumbs/o-115-facebook.jpg)
But I'd say it's a single living fungal organism with a central source of energy. So the fungal terrain would spread outwards from a fungal tower, white to cool, black to heat - can be fought with biological weapons or attacked at the tower. Stop it before it releases spores.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Cinth on January 28, 2015, 06:40:57 AM
Altering the planet's axis of rotation can also have an interesting effect on the climate.  Just think about what would happen should the north pole be pointed directly at the sun (one hemisphere in constant daylight). 
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Shrugging Khan on January 29, 2015, 05:50:06 AM
North Pole directly at the sun?
I guess it comes down to the atmospheric conditions, the thickness of the ice, and the overall temperature of the planet.
Could result in either

a) All that white reflects the light, cooling global climate.
b) The ice cap melting, causing a negligible rise in sea level.

But really, if you have the power to just tilt the planet any way you like, then what are you even doing it for? That kind of power could easily solve any economic or military issues.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Cinth on February 02, 2015, 09:04:22 AM
Even just tilting the axis toward the sun year round (or away) would have drastic climatic effect (always summer or winter).  The long term effects on the planet though, I dunno...

All in all, it was just an off the wall idea.  Most terraforming type sciences could be used militarily to wipe out indigenous species. 
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: DrGonzo on February 09, 2015, 03:07:07 PM
So now let's talk about the planet's core.  How can we mess with THAT to adjust temperature?  This I'm a lot less sure about.  I have some really half-baked ideas, but the goal would be to have basically underground structures that we could use to drill way down and cause heating or cooling.

It depends on what you are talking about in terms of temperature adjustment, are you discussing using the core to heat the atmosphere and buildings on the planet or are you talking about heating the core itself?

If you talking about using the mantle and core temperatures to heat buildings and generate electricity and so forth it wouldn't be so different than contemporary geothermal electricity plants and heat-pumps, albeit extrapolated over a grander scale.

As for heating the core itself, in the absence of tidal friction, you're talking about either sinking heavier elements to the core of the planet for an increased spin rate or decreasing the volume of a planet to increase internal pressure and consequently heating. Naturally this occurs through a process of planetary differentiation wherein the heavier elements sink toward the core of the planet causing an increase in spin rate. On a planet that had a historically poor natural differentiation process [such as Venus] it may be possible for a sufficiently advanced civilization to artificially sink the heavier elements for an increased spin and hotter core temps. On other planets that had an adequate natural differentiation process [such as Earth] perhaps it would be possible for them to inject/sink materials that are heavier than the bulk of the core material... generally something heavier than Iron. Surely such processes, in either case, would not be without a fair share of side effects; an increase in core pressure and temperature would almost certainly result in an increase in volcanism and resultant out gassing. In extreme cases it may even result in the fracturing of the crust with obviously catastrophic consequences.

Most of this process would be dependent upon what heavier elements are naturally available in the planets crust to be manipulated and, outside of importing mass from another source, the results would probably be negligible.

It might ultimately be easier to go with the, "Thank God we invented the 'WHATEVER' device" for the purposes of manipulating core temperatures, planet density, gravity, spin, etc. The World Heating And Thermal Energy Variance Experimental Reactor is a cornerstone of all advanced civilizations, after all.

... it would be cool if you could over-spin the planet and cause a fracturing of the crust though.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: zharmad on February 14, 2015, 11:11:19 AM
 In terms of regulating incoming sunlight, a lot of albedo comes from ice/cloud-cover. A sentient planet could arguably change its cloud/snow cover by altering its own terrain features. This causes the location of of cloud formations to change.
 Any terrain changes significant enough to alter cloud cover will result its own set of earthquakes/tectonic movements/tsunamis/etc. You can't really alter the net amount of evaporation without getting more water where the sun is shining the most, but you can alter the amount of time it stays airborne before it turns into rain.  In other words, you'll be creating and demolishing everest-sized mountain ranges to influence these where it matters: near the tropics and sub-tropics.  Now, it'll be easier to to implement them as rules without running a full climate simulation, so here are some simplistic rules of thumb:
 On geomanipulation in the tropics (see satellite imagesof the ITCZ, they're cool)
 - more ocean/less land tiles in the tropic = more clouds generation, also more net greenhouse due to water.
 - more mountain/less land tiles in the tropic = more rain and re-directing of clouds.
 - For Earth-like rotations, mountains on east side of continent = less time between cloud generation and rainfall, net decrease in albedo. Vice-versa, mountains on west-side. Note very large rain shadow in africa, and amazonian jungle. These are pretty much the result of mountain range locations.

 To get more snow-cover, you could to create more landmass for it to stay icy. However, the polar landscapes don't contribute as much to the overall homeostasis (unless you're talking about the scale of sinking all of Antarctica). Here are some smaller effects:
 - More polar land/less ocean = high snow-cover. Colder and less heat escape.
 - more land/less ocean connecting the arctic regions to the sub-tropics = more extensive snow-cover towards the equator. See USA and Siberia. Contrast southern hemisphere continents.

 Areas between these two extremes are far more complex, so I can't give you a physically sensible rule. The other important question is: does the game have day/night cycles? Simplistically speaking, cloud cover has a net-warmth effect at night, and a net-cooling effect by day.

 = = =
 You *could* also play around with the spin mechanics in a limited fashion. Physics-wise, you can't alter the orbit without jettisoning/colliding something particularly massive. You can't alter the net spin momentum of the planet, but you can possibly alter the orientation. Analogously, falling cats reorient themselves feet-first, but if you send them out spinning, they can't stop the spinning.
 - slower day = more cloud generation in oceans. Also more extreme temperature fluctuations.
 - faster geothermal activity
 - etc.
 - Slow change of equator and polar regions across map.

 = = =
 Since you are also proposing to spontaneously bloom white daisies across grasslands, what you can also do is to invent plant life that excels at producing and storing heat. Earth jungles already store a lot of water and biomass in its trees (this contributes to local and climate). What you can do is to extrapolate this towards local terraforming organisms (which jungles effective are), meaning that the planet will attempts to produce (dark) temporate rainforests in wet areas in order to raise local temperature. For a visual reference, see the temporate rainforests that exist in Washington and BC, Canada. (Well, strictly speaking, the landscape and ocean has a greater say in determining what can grow, but we're not running a climate simulation in this game.)

 Extending this to the oceans, you'll have to be able to create relevant algal/sea-weed blooms to significantly affect albedo.

 On the dry end of the scale, you can't do much with standard deserts. The only really big thing the planet could do is to just sink them into the ocean or manipulate the climate so that they become some other biome (again, by raising mountains to force rainfall onto it). On the other hand, the races can glass them.
 The once-a-decade rainstorms that come to the arid semi-desert areas, on the other hand, causes a pretty amazing transformation to the landscape for as long as the water remains (a couple of months). Here you can implement some temporary measures, and some potentially amazing graphics. One would essentially flood this area, creating man rivers across a blooming landscape with lots of animals (might be worth sitting down and watch a documentary, but I couldn't find one off-hand).

 - Add temporary blooms, e.g. rain event in arid areas.
 - Alter climate of some tiles. Desert <-> Arid <-> Savannah <-> Plains <-> Grassland, etc.
 - Alter foliage of some tiles Savannah/Grassland <-> Jungle, Plains/Tundra <-> Forest, etc.
 - Invent separate dark and light biomes.
 - Alter ocean biomass.
 - Add new volcanic islands to ocean tiles, and trigger ash event.


Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Cinth on February 14, 2015, 05:39:25 PM
Altering oceanic currents can also have profound effects on global climates.  Compare earth climate during the Jurassic to what we have currently.  A lot of the differences can be attributed to the changes in the oceans (and relative locations of the major landmasses). 

For a major cooling event, we can look to the most recent Ice Age.  The Toba eruption ~75,000 years ago is hypothesized to have cause a global drop in temperatures (Greenland ice core data has shown a drop in temps that correlate to the eruption).  This major event also coincides with the beginnings of the last ice age (though its connection is arguable). 
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Aeson on February 14, 2015, 07:07:40 PM
So now let's talk about the planet's core.  How can we mess with THAT to adjust temperature?  This I'm a lot less sure about.  I have some really half-baked ideas, but the goal would be to have basically underground structures that we could use to drill way down and cause heating or cooling.
As for heating the core itself, in the absence of tidal friction, you're talking about either sinking heavier elements to the core of the planet for an increased spin rate or decreasing the volume of a planet to increase internal pressure and consequently heating.
It would probably be more reasonable to have ongoing fission reactions in the core which the planet or its inhabitants are for some reason capable of regulating than to have any significant alteration of the planet's volume. If the fission reaction or its effect on core temperature is regulated by moving mass around, that will also have an effect on the heating from the core's rotation. In general, spreading whatever is undergoing fission out will slow (or even stop) the reaction, cooling the core, while bringing it closer together will speed the reaction and heat the core. Putting something dense and not fissile (or at least not easily fissile) between the parts undergoing fission will also tend to slow the reaction, assuming that the individual pieces of the reactants are not themselves at critical mass, while removing it will tend to increase the rate of reaction. Be aware that the cooling effect of slowing the rate of fission is likely to be slow, though if the reaction is regulated by pulling material from the mantle into the core you may see a cooling effect in the core and a heating effect in the mantle (though the cooling in the core may be counteracted by the frictional heating effects of moving the material around).

As far as the idea about drilling down to the core goes? Good luck with that. Have fun dealing with all kinds of mechanical failures on just about everything, from the vehicle body to the vehicle electronics to the actual digging apparatus, related to heating and pressure. If whatever you're trying to put into the core isn't on the digging vehicle, have fun keeping the tunnel from collapsing behind the digging vehicle, and have fun keeping enough pressure on the digging vehicle to keep it from being shot up the shaft by the pressure on its bottom.


As far as manipulating cloud cover goes, you could run with cloud seeding, as long as there's sufficient water in the atmosphere. As far as getting more water into the atmosphere goes, remember that volcanic activity releases water into the atmosphere, and not simply due to boiling the local surface water and burning the local vegetation. Magma contains water trapped within the planet's mantle and carries it (and other things) up to the surface, and more explosive eruptions indicate that the magma under the volcano held greater concentrations of water (and other gasses). Thus, if you want the planet's cloud cover to increase, kick off some explosive volcanic eruptions. It's win-win - you get lots of particles into the air for water to condense around, which seeds clouds; you get lots of extra water into the air, from the water released by the eruption and boiled off by hot material falling into surface water and boiling out of burning material; and you get a cooling effect from having all that ash blotting out the sun, encouraging water to condense on all that conveniently-placed ash. (I'm not being entirely serious here, by the way, though I'm also not being entirely facetious.)

Other ways to increase the amount of water getting into the atmosphere include increasing the roughness and turbulence of the ocean surface (which, by the way, are not exactly the same thing), increasing the sea and air temperatures, and changing weather patterns so that air coming off of land masses is on average more dry than it had been. If you allow the average area covered by water to change, that will have a similar effect, with greater surface area resulting in more evaporation. It should be noted, however, that changing the average area covered by water to any significant degree is likely to be accompanied by serious earthquakes if done by rearranging the planet's crust, or by the loss some significant fraction of the planet's icecaps. If the planet can adjust the level of the water table, that is another way to affect the fraction of the planet's surface which is covered by water - forcing the water table closer to the surface will tend to encourage the formation of new lakes and rivers as well as increasing the size of existing ones, while pushing it down will tend to dry lakes and rivers up.


As far as regulating greenhouse gasses go, plant life is the obvious method. You can also increase the surface roughness and turbulence of the oceans, which will lead to more gasses being absorbed into the water, though that will only work until the water becomes saturated and may have unwanted side-effects. There have been some experiments with bubbling exhaust gasses (and in some cases air taken from the atmosphere) through tanks filled with water and algae to remove greenhouse gasses, so you could invent some kind of large-scale 'atmospheric processor' based off of that as a way for the planet's inhabitants to alter the planet's mix of atmospheric gasses or as something the various players could implement to regulate the emissions from their factories and power plants (it probably wouldn't be worth it on e.g. cars and airplanes, though the atmospheric processor version could be a way around not being able to attach something to every exhaust pipe on every vehicle). Volcanic eruptions are obviously a way for the planet to add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, as are large-scale fires (which themselves could be started by volcanic eruptions; another possible way of encouraging fires would be if the planet can adjust the potential difference between the atmosphere and the ground, especially if it can also adjust the water table - an area with a lower water table is probably going to be drier, and thus more susceptible to fire if lightning strikes, and if the planet can encourage lightning strikes...).

If the planet is sufficiently intelligent to recognize the connection between its inhabitants and the changes in the environment, it can try messing around with their infrastructure to adjust emissions rates. If all the factories and refineries are shut down due to earthquakes and lightning strikes and floods and landslides and sinkholes doing nasty stuff, emissions are going to drop. If that's a bit too extreme, you could take more of a carrot-and-stick approach by changing the availability/ease of certain forms of generation. If the oil fields dry up but the ground temperature increases, moderate winds become more common, the days become more consistently sunny, then you would probably see a shift from fossil fuels to one or more of geothermal, wind, and solar power; if the days become more consistently overcast, the winds die down or become too inconsistent to provide reliable power, or the magma upwelling heating the ground go away, while the fossil fuels become more available again (recent earthquake exposes new coal vein, oil comes up instead of water when someone was drilling a new well somewhere, whatever), you could see a shift back towards the power sources which generate more emissions.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: NickAragua on February 23, 2015, 12:51:03 AM
But now I need sources of cooling and heating that simply cannot be compensated for via the measures I've mentioned above.  That's fine, I've been thinking of those methods for a while anyway.

This planet is out on its own, and is quite large.  So the only two sources of heat for it (that I can think of) are its own core, and the heat from its sun.  It wouldn't have any Europa-style heat being generated by gravitational forces with a nearby planetary body or anything like that.

How about giving the planet an elliptical orbit (due to being an extra-solar capture)? Heats up at the closest point, cools down at the farthest.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Aeson on February 23, 2015, 07:40:16 AM
How about giving the planet an elliptical orbit (due to being an extra-solar capture)? Heats up at the closest point, cools down at the farthest.
My impression is that the request is more in the line of "what plausible knobs can I give to players and the various computer factions for controlling aspects of the planet's temperature" than "what kind of setup can I give to the planet such that heating and cooling events would occur naturally," preferably with the heating and cooling happening on a timescale which can be seen within a game, and possibly several times within a game. Messing around with the orbit seems a bit impractical on such a short timescale, especially when the planet's inhabitants cannot get off the planet or even put things into orbit for some reason. If you can't even get things into orbit of the planet, let alone out of it, it makes adjusting the planet's orbit rather more difficult, at least if you have to abide by real-world physics.

I could of course be mistaken in my interpretation. Or the planet or its inhabitants could have the ability to create wormholes at the edge of the atmosphere which are large enough to swallow the planet and also have fine enough control of said wormholes to move the planet in a way that leaves it in a new, presumably more desirable and reasonably stable, orbit. Or the planet could have its own giant rocket engines or hyperdrives or whatever for whenever it wants to relocate.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Teal_Blue on February 23, 2015, 02:42:28 PM
My guess is perhaps Chris and company are looking for 'plausible' means to achieve climate change, instead of wormholes or rockets attached to the planet. However, this is a 'game', and secondly, it is sci-fi, so there is going to be 'some' element of the fantastic in there anyway. The question is what kind and how much?

Also, does Chris want the planet to have an edge on what the factions are able to do? Control heat, make rain, move masses of rock and earth, or plant forests (and how quickly do they grow?) If we are looking at short 'human like' lifespans for the races, then perhaps their agenda's would change, at least if they are an individual oriented society, though the hive mind races would probably stand better chances of achieving long term (centuries long) goals.

But Chris did say the races, at least the other AI races were very advanced, naturally in sci-fi, this is fun to play with new concepts and abilities. So it may be that the races have an edge on the planet. I am assuming some sort of push-pull between the two is preferrable for interesting and strategic gameplay?

I really like Zharmad's post and several by Cinth and Topper, but then again, i think i find myself agreeing more with the 'plausible' side, than the 'fantastic'.  Of course if you had caught me ten years ago or so, i probably would have preferred the 'anatomic relay-inverted thing-a-ma-bob ray emitting thing'   :)

Maybe of course Chris and company want something with both, the plausible and the exo-super-machine. It makes for a less static game and more different kinds of players.  :)  I suppose to, that some of this is determined by the 'I'm in the first part of the game, and establishing a society-building like crazy, so these rules apply.  Then moving on to ... well, we are now in the middle part of the game, where less building and more judicious decisions of where and what kinds of defense/offense we are using as we either encroach or are invaded by the other factions? Which lead to replacing some rules, maybe even most of them for a different kind of gameplay?  And lastly of course moving into the end game, where we are probably at our strongest and perhaps weakest as well, strong armies, weak, almost population depleted cities? Formidable technology, but dried up resources? Maybe it is these shortages, or weaknesses that force us to 'co-operate' with some of the other races?

Oh as a quick note, I don't know if i heard this in reference to Civ-BE, or of Alpha-Centauri, so excuse the ignorance, but one of the 4x games out there was derided, at least in one of the reviews i read, of forcing the player into a player against everybody situation at the end of the game. So diplomacy and economic co-operation, was always short term, because at some point the player, or the other faction had to break away for the final, only one can win face off for the end. --- Anyway, my 'opinion' would be, please Arcen, don't do that if you can help it. :) ----

As to adding something in this post to contribute to the theories to use for actual climate manipulation, either by the planet or by the player/factions, i would second the very fine points made my Zharmad, i like all the 'naturalistic' stuff.  :)  Less the fantastical machines that adjust our orbit with no sense of how, other than, it can. Well, that is sci-fi isn't it?  Haha, well, i suppose we have to have some of that, but maybe less of it would make the game more 'serious' than say, an RTS where anything goes?

I hope i haven't offended anyone, thanks for listening to my two cents. Wish i could contribute a 'theory' of my own, but to be honest, i'm not quite as learned as many here, so i go with what i favor. 

Take care,
-Teal

Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: NickAragua on February 23, 2015, 02:53:15 PM
So just to be clear, are we talking about

a) things that planet-bound sentients can do to manipulate temperature on a planet? or
b) things that affect temperature on a planet that surface-bound sentients cannot do? or
c) things that a sentient planet can do that surface-bound sentients cannot do?
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Teal_Blue on February 23, 2015, 03:03:35 PM
Quote "Setting the natural uranium on fire is a really intriguing concept, too.  I also need a really good way of letting the player race decide to irreversibly destroy the planet, and going with more creatively plausible options than just "lots of bombs" would be really fun.  It's not something I have started researching yet at all, actually, but ideas along those lines are very interesting." Unquote from X4000


There was that 'increase the temperature of the core of the planet from that old sci-fi movie, Forbidden Planet.  :)

But perhaps the approach could be different for each faction? What i mean is humans, use science, the peltians prefer using exo-planetary bodies, and if moons are out of the question, perhaps meters, or cometary bodies, captured with some .... well.... haha, sci-fi tech?  I suppose using small occupantless vehicles used to attach themselves to the bodies and return to the planet is less sci-fi than a tractor beam, but probably not by much.

And the Thoraxians? Perhaps they sacrifice huge numbers of their workers to dig tunnels that perhaps would introduce 'weak points' into the crust causing massive uncontrollable earthquakes?

The Andors and Acutians? Perhaps Surrender without violence, and inject a thermal nuclear chain of devices that will trigger a series of cracks, that split the mantle to deeper and deeper levels? Like a wedge?

Perhaps micro-escalating organisms that grow in a methane rich atmosphere thrive and deny atmosphere to the other factions and 'most' other life forms? Thus denying them a viable biome? Essentially i suppose it reduces the planet to a almost barren, algea infested, intelligent life killed off type of environment. Of course this may require a determined series of steps to accomplish, and or steps in which to prepare the planet for. So the player if doing this may have to decide fairly early on, do I build this just in case? Or forgo that decision?

Other forms of biological 'suicide' might include, chaining a series of volcanoes in an explosion that would kick the planet out of orbit, perhaps by only 3 or 4 degrees? but enough and of course all at once, resulting in the atmosphere being stripped away in the force of the movement.

Of course there is the view that the death of the planet may be by the planet itself and not be started by the factions or the player at all. Which might be, something the planet starts in the middle game if certain conditions are met. Conditions the planet feels are unacceptable. So it may give the player another goal, other than just to win, but maybe to stop the planet from going critical or out-gassing poisonous gas, or drying up its oceans or resources, etc...

Anyway, these ideas are probably not as well formulated as they could be, but may at least be a nugget of an idea for something to start with.  :)

Thanks for listening,
-Teal


Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Teal_Blue on February 23, 2015, 03:08:48 PM
So just to be clear, are we talking about

a) things that planet-bound sentients can do to manipulate temperature on a planet? or
b) things that affect temperature on a planet that surface-bound sentients cannot do? or
c) things that a sentient planet can do that surface-bound sentients cannot do?


I think you hit it right on the button!  All three of course, and perhaps one or two more I haven't thought of yet.  :)

Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Alex Heartnet on February 24, 2015, 01:39:51 AM

Acutians...Perhaps Surrender without violence...

LOL no I'm sure there is plenty of ways to make money off of destroying the planet.

The Andors would be willing to sit passively and let their doomsday machine destroy all, yes.  An apocalyptic scenario would throw the hardcore-capitalist Acutians into complete anarchy.

Maybe prepare one colony ship that can somehow escape the disaster, overcharge the peasants for the right to get onboard the colony ship and escape Armageddon, and make sure the colony ship carries mining and construction equipment so they can quickly start strip-mining the shattered planet and rebuilding.  There is no profit to be had in suicide, and besides someone else might of somehow survived as well!  That's no good...

What kind of equipment would you need to survive an exploding planet?
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Teal_Blue on February 24, 2015, 10:47:04 PM

Acutians...Perhaps Surrender without violence...

LOL no I'm sure there is plenty of ways to make money off of destroying the planet.

The Andors would be willing to sit passively and let their doomsday machine destroy all, yes.  An apocalyptic scenario would throw the hardcore-capitalist Acutians into complete anarchy.

Maybe prepare one colony ship that can somehow escape the disaster, overcharge the peasants for the right to get onboard the colony ship and escape Armageddon, and make sure the colony ship carries mining and construction equipment so they can quickly start strip-mining the shattered planet and rebuilding.  There is no profit to be had in suicide, and besides someone else might of somehow survived as well!  That's no good...

What kind of equipment would you need to survive an exploding planet?

I'm not sure what kind of equipment you would need to survive an exploding planet, especially if you are on it, but it would be interesting to figure out.

Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Alex Heartnet on February 26, 2015, 02:10:32 AM
I'm not sure what kind of equipment you would need to survive an exploding planet, especially if you are on it, but it would be interesting to figure out.

It's entirely possible that the colony ship might in fact fail at its task to survive the exploding planet and die along with everyone else!   :P

For the colony ship to survive the initial blast I'd imagine that you'd have to be somewhere close to space-flight or at least really high up.  Afterwards you'd try to find some halfway-decent landing site and hope your ship is not too damaged.  It won't matter much what the surrounding terrain is like since you'll be making your own landmass.  From there you'd want to get basic infrastructure up and running quickly and then start scouting to make sure there aren't more survivors.

As robots the Acutians would have an easy time thriving in post-Apocalyptia. They don't need silly things like breathable air or moderate temperatures.  Radioactive dust storms are a minor issue because all the dust would get in the machinery, but that sort of thing is basic-level tech.  An exposed mantle is an excellent mining opportunity!

It's probably best to plan for this sort of thing and make sure everything's ready before you blow up the planet.  This isn't a "I only have 30 days to set this up" race.

Alternatively, there are other methods of global destruction.  Methinks the planet's fault lines are too stable...
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Captain Jack on February 26, 2015, 05:21:10 AM
So just to be clear, are we talking about

a) things that planet-bound sentients can do to manipulate temperature on a planet? or
b) things that affect temperature on a planet that surface-bound sentients cannot do? or
c) things that a sentient planet can do that surface-bound sentients cannot do?

If this is the case, I have a real life science fiction suggestion open to both races and sentient planet: iron fertilization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_fertilization). Turns out that iron is the limiting factor in oceantop algae and phytoplankton spread, and some scientists are theorizing that one cause of the ice ages is high iron content oceans. Dumping tonnes of iron particulate into the ocean could achieve the desired cooling effect as the plant matter eats at it, but that's so boring and not scifi enough.

(http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110909221335/deusex/en/images/thumb/9/95/Panchaea.png/500px-Panchaea.png)

Anyone remember DXHR's Panchaea? It and its siblings are supposed to be facilities for regulating this process. Build one of these and you can start cooling the planet (and boost fish stocks, according to the Haida Gwaii project). Or alternatively, set it the other way and you warm the planet while acquiring iron.

Of course, this does impinge on the Aquamen's domain. Maybe these piss them off the way Transcendence irritates the Thoraxians?

Saw this a while back and thought it was too cool to keep to myself, pun not intended.
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: Teal_Blue on February 26, 2015, 09:38:16 PM
looks pretty cool!
Title: Re: Science Discussion: Heating and Cooling A Planet.
Post by: kasnavada on April 15, 2015, 06:04:06 AM
Kind of after the battle but... Changing orbits could work.

Could a sentient planet change its density by moving "inner" magma from place to place enough for it to change orbits ? Theoretically, with no friction due to being in space, moving its mass to the "back" would make it move to the "front", and placing it back would stop it.

Another idea would be to mind-control all of its biomass somehow to achieve a similar result, but biomass is really tiny compared to a planet's mass.

Some "plants" which store light and then convert it into cinetic energy could work. Then release energy at day to make the planet move "warmer", at night for "colder".

Without changing positions, space is cold, but not quite at 0° K. It's about 2°K if I remember well. The planet could absorb ambient heat to get an higher temperature. It would need to harvest quite a large area however.

Last idea, similar to the "uranium on fire" in concept. It would be limited in time, but to heat up, it could manipulate components in its core to create endothermic / exothermic chemical reactions on a planetary scale.