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Planetary WeatherSim MultipleContinent

by Asymptote (Submitted: 10/13/2008)

[screen shot]

Download Planetary WeatherSim MultipleContinent
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(You can also run this model in your browser, but we don't recommend it; details here.)

WHAT IS IT?

This model attempts to simulate weather patterns on a hypothetical planet, using variables such as humidity, precipitation and temperature.

HOW IT WORKS

The simulation is mostly patch-based. A patch's humidity rises (at a rate proportional to its current temperature) until it reaches the rain threshold, at which point precipitation begins to fall. This depletes the patch's humidity while also lowering its temperature. The heating of land and water varies based on latitude and a day-night cycle. Land also heats up much faster than water.

HOW TO USE IT

Click "Setup" to create a new planet. Use the menu below the display window to choose a display-mode. "Humidity" gives a simple map of global humidity levels. "Rain" does the same thing, except the patches are colored white wherever humidity is above the rain threshold (that is, where there's currently rain). "Temperature" displays global temperatures. "Topography" simply shows land in green and ocean in blue. "Topographic-Rain" shows the same thing, but with white patches wherever there's currently rain.

THINGS TO NOTICE

The weather is much more active and unstable towards the "equator" than the "poles". There is also a lot less activity over land, although at the shore, the excess heat the land absorbs and re-radiates does tend to intensify storms.

THINGS TO TRY

Edit the simulation's parameters to observe different behavior. A lower rain-threshold will lead to a cooler, more unstable climate. A higher cool-factor will increase the rate at which rain cools the surface, allowing precipitation to greater affect the global climate.

EXTENDING THE MODEL

The precipitation model is fairly inaccurate, and leads to "flickering" or "flashing" clouds. Any improvement to this part of the model would improve the whole thing dramatically.

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