cause of the very cold winter in the game


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random fact, it's believed (with experimental models) that the most recent ice age wasnt earths wobbled tilt (then the ice thats known to have been in certain places wouldnt be there) but rather tectonic plates moving (would explain the earthquakes if moving faster for in game) and more marine ice (like you see in the beaches in the game when this is a western island, not far north) causes less circulation of water in the oceans, which flowing water warms it so the opposite cools it

in the story there is a phrase early on of something along the lines of 'each winter feels colder and colder'
while rising global temperatures can do a temporary colder periods (ice melts and flows more towards the equator with colder winds), it in general causes weather to be more hectic and warmer overall winters, not forever winter thats very cold
but one of the things behind the game is economic collapse. this sort of deal can lead to less usage of certain energy sources cause more expensive and more usage of cheaper energy. one of these cheaper energy is nuclear. while it is safer for the air, our for a while now disposal of nuclear waste isnt the best (better then used to be. its currently in barrels with rocks that overtime absorb the waste so there is no liquid runoff if punctured after a while and its buried deep down) and the thing about tectonic plates, the majority of their movement comes down to heat from radioactive processes in earths core
now there is newer methods of using that waste as a fuel source in specialized reactors which would help out in lower the waste dramatically overtime

now this is just theoretical, but what if this ice age in the game is caused by overmining of nuclear resources mixed with none of this newer model for power plants being discovered, overuse of nuclear power (without the new model) meaning more nuclear waste causing possibly more tectonic plate shift which might cause more ice in certain regions which can cause less flowing oceans which means colder global temperatures
while most people thinking nuclear being cooling of the air cause nuclear particles in the air meaning less light, but what if instead its just too much in the ground?

now i would love to hear people's thoughts of this idea and any other idea that they have for colder and colder winters

and please try to keep it civil, i know there is very conflicting stances on nuclear energy, this is just a fun idea of a possible cause of the colder winters

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You may be interested in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).  This is in the Atlantic of course, but it shows how large quantities of meltwater can disrupt very important ocean currents that help form the climate.  For example, if the AMOC were completely disrupted, England would have much colder winters because it would not be receiving the flow of warm ocean water from the tropics that it always has.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/feb/09/atlantic-ocean-circulation-nearing-devastating-tipping-point-study-finds

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_meridional_overturning_circulation

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Hm... it's plausible, I guess... but probably not at least for a few hundred years of using nuclear power at the rate which would cause something on a TLD scale.

I personally think that the Event was caused by a huge spike in solar activity coupled with... something going awfully wrong with Earth's magnetosphere, perhaps as severe as a pole flip. It might also have something to do with an "inverse greenhouse effect", where there is not enough greenhouse gas (CO2, NH4, etc.) to maintain warm temperatures, as opposed to too much.

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1 hour ago, conanjaguar said:

Hm... it's plausible, I guess... but probably not at least for a few hundred years of using nuclear power at the rate which would cause something on a TLD scale.

I personally think that the Event was caused by a huge spike in solar activity coupled with... something going awfully wrong with Earth's magnetosphere, perhaps as severe as a pole flip. It might also have something to do with an "inverse greenhouse effect", where there is not enough greenhouse gas (CO2, NH4, etc.) to maintain warm temperatures, as opposed to too much.

i still think it could be a possible among various other factors helping influence, as for your ideas i want to expand on them.
a complete reverse pole flip has happened, 170 times in the past 100 million years and no way to know when will happen next, but a complete pole flip isnt going to change the weather much but can cause communication issues, however, it's not overnight, it takes a minimum of a century to complete which the process can lead to cooling temperatures. more specifically it's process involves weakening of the strength and then a flip and then a return to strength. a weaker strength can cause more cloud cover over the world, which means cooling temperatures
the solar activity i think would have more of an effect on the electronics then the temperature
as far as the inverse greenhouse gases there is 2 ways to achieve this. 1 is reduction of greenhouse gases directly being released (think the old pesticides, those were heavy but current pesticides are also to a lesser extent) and by things that absorb it becoming more prominent (the biggest contributor being ocean plants). now while the one end i dont think is likely to big of an influence (the heavy push for more flora, as there is a bunch of cut trees in the game) the economic collapse can cause that. i said already briefly a less reliance on certain fuels and more reliance on things like nuclear. there might be various things that the average citizen enjoyed becoming too expensive, more of a luxury, so the amount in circulation. for example, united states (the economic collapse was all over north america) uses much more pesticides per acre of lawn then farm land i hear a lot. pesticides becoming more expensive? more frugal pesticide usage. cows and such, huge methane contributors so if they become too expensive, less bred and populations dwindle, then less of those gasses. big planes cause a lot of warming. more expensive compared to what people can afford? less used. so while the story mode involves a dinky old plane, big plane flights in general might have lowered. many things effect the amount and many of them rely on economics. some of them also rely on conflict (supply lines being disrupted or enhanced can effect the usage of big cargo ships)

all these factors can be combined to cause a global cooling effect

would it be enough in the next 70 years to cause as rapid of a temperature drop as the long dark on the west coast of canada? probably not. but i think it's fun to think of what could have helped cause that global ice age/severe temperature drop we see in the game

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The fun part of science fiction (and the game *is* science fiction) is it doesn't need to make perfect sense or be something that *is* happening IRL- it only needs to be theoretically possible, based on known and theoretical science. We can all create our own theories about what caused the never-ending winter we find ourselves in, in the game.

The game does tell you a geomagnetic event is the issue, or part of the issue. At least it's what brought your plane down. In Survival Mode we see the effects of earthquakes and humans plundering the land, while Wintermute goes a bit deeper into the backstory and lore of the island, without explicitly saying what the direct cause of it all is.

Is the cause of the earthquakes a sign of "The Big One" with the Cascadia Subduction Zone (something that will affect Western North America, in particular Canada and US Alaska first, but is likely to cause a global disaster and possible extinction event)? Did a huge CME, bigger than the one that caused the Carrington Event happen at the same time? How much is due to man-made climate change causing even greater damage- before and during the time frame the game is set it? Is there an actual nuclear war taking place that we don't know about, because we were flying when the first bombs started being launched and started landing? Are the earthquakes causing nuclear power plants and plutonium enrichment plants to go critical and explode like a thousand TMI/ Chernobyl/ Fukushima/SL-1/ Chalk River NRX Reactor meltdowns all happening at once or in rapid succession? Is our Sun beginning to go super-nova and we are roleplaying what the end of the Earth may be like? Did the Anunnaki come back to check on their experiment on this little planet they seeded with life millions of years ago and hey decided the experiment was a failure, and it's time to nuke the planet and start over again? Are we trapped in a never-ending Winter while half of the planet is burning up and melting?

That's one of the things I love about science fiction. It doesn't need to make perfect sense in terms of what we absolutely know in the life we are actually living- it only needs to make enough sense to be theoretically possible. For me, I roleplay the game as if it is a combination of global destruction caused by humans and their greed for power and money, with a massive CME and Cascadia event thrown in all together, causing a global disaster *and* a pole flip. Because that idea is one I can wrap my head around and that I find interesting (yet terrifying) to figure out if any of us would actually be able to survive it.

Science fiction can be fun and horrifying at the same time...

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i find it fascinating the idea people have of a complete and full sudden pole reversal causing massive effect. all it would really do seems to be messing with some animals that rely on an inner magnetic compass, which would based on that cause some level of less plant and animal life, and some navigation issues, it ultimately wouldnt do much. and pole flips have happened multiple times in earths history. what i'm more fascinated by is the process. taking an average of 7000 years but being much faster closer you are to the equator and the process causes much weaker magnetic pull (very dangerous and influencial). you would have various parts of the world uninhabitable by humans, you would have possibly rapid cooling at the same time as higher cancer rates, there would form many north poles to the south and south pole to the north that slowly go towards the typical pole which would be there for a while which would cause compasses to be obsolete, new plant and animal life would evolve whole new species for survival of this process and then change again when the process is complete. would it cause full extinction of humans? no, but there would be lot less overtime (less habitable land for humans and higher cancer rates)

what i like personally for science fiction is when just 1 or 2 things change and the effects of that
a good example i think is dr stone, an anime that one specific thing happening caused an annihilation of human civilization (sorta, complicated), and what effects that would have and processes to get back to speed
an example for a story idea i have is a biology based science fiction alternate history where 2 small changes in the past cause a decent chunk of people to be "vampires" (in quotes cause more like called that and various characteristics like garlic intolerance, needing blood or liver for a certain vitamin but can to a lesser extent use dairy and eggs and some fish, extreme reaction to sun, etc. but no mythological or spiritual aspects like burning from crosses)
which while i think scifi based on advancements in physics, cyberware and information technology is typical. a lot of people seem to only think of sci fi being just that when it can be stuff like biotechnology (think bioshock for instance)
and alternate history being just like who won this war or with what technology when again, it can be more.
people don't have to like alternate ways of doing those stories of course, but when they don't know it's even an option, i think that can stifle creativity

and me personally, i know science fiction and the likes can have to many things that seem too outlandish to me making it offputting and i personally like science fiction that takes theoretical application, things that could happen, speculative but tries to ground it more in how it could be plausible. but i'm not going to say a story that deviates heavily from that isn't "true science fiction" or shouldn't be enjoyed or even that i cant find enjoyment in it. we all have our differences and uniqueness is the spice of life.

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It's fun to speculate on the reasons for the cooling event in TLD, but I'm more in the corner of just enjoy the story for what it is. The "scientific" rationale of whatever happened in the long dark was necessary to tell a (hopefully) interesting story. Every work of fiction has a certain degree of suspension of disbelief and TLD is no exception. There's a good degree of literary license to tell a story. I just like to enjoy the environment, the mystery, and the scenery. There is no correlation between the Earth's magnetic field and weather. Weather (hot/cold/dry/wet/unstable/stable) is a function of the uneven heating of the Earth's surface by the sun, air mass movement, surface friction between the atmosphere and the rotating Earth, and the balance between heat absorption and reflection back out of the atmosphere.

The Earth's magnetic field is rather weak. A magnet you buy on vacation and stick on your refrigerator has a field strength of around 0.001 Tesla or about 1 milliTesla. The Earth's magnetic field varies but is around 50 microTesla. So less than 1/20th the strength of a fridge magnet. A typical MRI has a field strength around 0.5-3 Tesla and has enough power to make steel hospital beds fly across a room. Even in an MRI, DC electrical circuits (flashlights, patient monitors, microphones, speakers) function completely normally without any issues. So, a shift in the world's very weak magnetic field or solar flares aren't going to do much noticeable to electrical circuits around the world or it's weather. Your car will still start and planes will not fall from the sky (for many other reasons). Screw up cell phone signals, RF transmissions, satellite/GPS signals, sure...but wide scale permanent blackouts, no. But it doesn't help tell an engaging story and as my grandfather taught me: never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

It is interesting that you could make a case for linking increased seismic activity leading to cooling of the world. Earthquakes are associated with volcanic eruptions and certainly a very large increase in atmospheric volcanic ash could lead to decreased solar radiation reaching the surface and a cooling effect.

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@Laxgoalie so i have 2 thoughts on what you said. I don't think fiction necessarily has to have suspension of disbelief. like some alternate history or some scifi or even real events with fictional characters (some games have even done this). So I think it's unfair to say every fictional story has it. What i think is more important in a story is knowing when it's needed or when it would benefit the story trying to tell. but the reverse is also true. highly scientific explanations and reasonings and such can enhance a story, so knowing when to incorporate that is also important

but as far as weaker earth magnet. it's true it wont effect it much for temperature averages with 10% strength, but it can have an effect in two ways.
the first is what people tend to think about with more radiation. now the history of all the polar flips seems where it's not enough to cause that much mutation or evolution differences compared to average.
the second is clouds. water from clouds isn't pure distilled water, because rather the molecules form around metals and minerals in the air, clump up together, nd then later drop. one of these metals is iron, which is influenced by magnets. this means that as earths magnetic pull gets weaker and then after a while flips closer to the equator and slowly spreads to the poles. other then compasses during that time being completely irrelevant and so some species relying on inner magnetic pull will be effected, it might have some effect on the clouds. now the iron content in clouds is rather low, so will it be noticeable effect? probably not. but it might have some minor amount of influence.

and true for last point, while not like a 1 to 1 as can get volcanic eruptions without earthquakes and an earthquake right by a volcano, even a strong earthquake might not cause an eruption. there still is some influence. i wasn't thinking about that when i referenced how most recent ice age was a mix of plates moving and more ice in certain areas causing less movement of ocean water so colder. but that is definitely a possible influence, so thank you.

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Maybe we have a different idea of what suspension of disbelief means.

https://www.oxfordreference.com/display/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100544310

To care about anything in a work of fiction, we choose to believe these events are actually happening to a real person or ourselves despite knowing it is not. Otherwise, what logical sense would it make to care what happens to Will or Astrid or our PC in a computer game written by several 20 and 30 somethings living in BC? Saying that TLD or any work of fiction isn't real and requires a suspension of disbelief isn't unfair. As a work of fiction TLD, like all fiction, requires not an insignificant amount of suspension of disbelief.

As someone who has spent their life learning about the physical and biological sciences I can just appreciate the attempt to apply rather cool looking/sounding phenomenon to a visually stunning game (if a bit long in the tooth at this point). However, the geomagnetic changes,  colder environment, and lack of any other people is not rationally explained by the scientific phenomenon on which the game draws inspiration. Heck, even having a lack of electricity cause an aircraft engine to stop running is wrong. But is sure is a pretty game. And it's fun to theorise.

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