Scientist Maps Climate of LOTR's Middle Earth: New Zealand is the Shire, Los Angeles is Mt. Doom

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By Reissa Su | December 9, 2013 5:36 PM EST

While climate skeptics dismiss climate science as nothing more than a fantasy, scientists have used a powerful super computer to map the fictional Middle Earth in J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series.

University of Bristol researcher and a climate change expert Dr Dan Lunt was able to replicate the climate in Middle Earth. Dr Lunt scanned the maps of LOTR author using the university's supercomputer. He said a climate change model will be effective when a map with details of the continents and height of mountains is used as the basis.

The University of Bristol's supercomputer was able to reproduce the weather patterns of LOTR's Rohan, Mirkwood, Mordor and the rest of the famous places in the series.

According to Mr Lunt's analysis using the LOTR climate model, Mt Doom can be compared to Los Angeles. Mt Doom is hot and emits volcanic ash comparable to Los Angeles' smog. Mordor's climate is likened to the southern part of Australia and a part of South Texas. In the fantasy series, Mt Doom is the place where Frodo must go to destroy the ring.

The Hobbit world known as the Shire can be compared to the UK's Lincolnshire. The Shire's climate is similar to that of Dunedin and Alexandra in New Zealand. It is worth noting that the director of the LOTR movies, Peter Jackson, chose New Zealand as their filming location.

Dr Lunt wrote a mock paper about the climate in Middle Earth under the pen name Radagast, the name of one of Mr Toklien's wizards in the series. According to the paper, the climate of LOTR's Middle Earth is similar to North America and Western Europe.

Mordor's climate is intolerable with scarce vegetation due to its hot and dry weather. The ships with Undying Lands as their destination will have to launch from the Grey Havens. Dr Lunt also wrote that Middle Earth would still be covered in dense forest if not for the presence of orcs, dragons and wizards.

The LOTR climate change study project only highlights the importance of evaluating the sensitivity of climate in the context of global warming.  

Meanwhile, the impact of climate change may come sooner than previously thought. A new report from the National Academy of Sciences revealed the effects of climate change may come not in a hundred years but within decades or sooner.

Prof. James White from the University of Colorado and chair of the report committee said the most challenging climate changes are the "abrupt ones." In a press conference on Dec. 3, he stressed that the impact of climate change can happen quickly. The report recommended governments around the world to invest in early warning systems for monitoring abrupt changes, like tracking the melting of ice sheets and methane gas releases.

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