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  1. Subscriber Suzianne
    Misfit Queen
    04 May '15 06:27
    Is there any modeling software out there where you can change physical characteristics of the Earth and see how the resulting Earth would look and explore it in a "Google Earth" fashion?

    For example, changing the oceanic water level, or changing the average temperature and seeing how the resultant Earth would reflect these changes?

    I'm not talking about "earth-changes" maps, I'm talking about software that can show the Earth under certain physical changes such as a water-level change, you know, input the new water level and see how the coastline changes, or change the albedo of the Earth's surface and see how that changes the amount of sun energy absorbed, stuff like this, not just a map or two.

    Do they even make such a software?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  2. 04 May '15 11:45
    I am sure that such models exist [well I know such models exist], but I suspect that any
    such models that have any real fidelity are not available as consumer products.

    You could probably gain access to such a model if you were prepared to pay a few hundred
    thousand for the license rights to run the model on your personal supercomputer.

    If this is wrong and such models are now available and affordable I would be very interested
    to know... But I suspect that what you ask for is still in the realm of the [smaller] supercomputer.

    But give it another 5~10 years, and you will probably be able to do it on your iPhone.


    There are web based models that allow you to model changes in sea level that can show you
    what sea level rise might do to the coastline... But they are highly simplified and inaccurate,
    they basically just colour any map tile with it's approximate hight below the new sea level
    blue. Which means that inland areas that are below the new sea level but that are not
    connected to the sea suddenly become flooded.
    Making a high fidelity model that actually deals with such complexities, AND linking it to
    high detail and precision 3D maps, is not to my knowledge yet available as a consumer
    grade product.
  3. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    04 May '15 12:56
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Is there any modeling software out there where you can change physical characteristics of the Earth and see how the resulting Earth would look and explore it in a "Google Earth" fashion?

    For example, changing the oceanic water level, or changing the average temperature and seeing how the resultant Earth would reflect these changes?

    I'm not talking abo ...[text shortened]... e this, not just a map or two.

    Do they even make such a software?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    Can we ask what you are after with this kind of modeling? For instance, what would the planet look like if there had been a world wide flood or perhaps what the land mass look like if all the ice on Earth melted? Like how high would the ocean level be in those two scenarios?
  4. 04 May '15 15:34
    Originally posted by Suzianne
    Is there any modeling software out there where you can change physical characteristics of the Earth and see how the resulting Earth would look and explore it in a "Google Earth" fashion?

    For example, changing the oceanic water level, or changing the average temperature and seeing how the resultant Earth would reflect these changes?

    I'm not talking abo ...[text shortened]... e this, not just a map or two.

    Do they even make such a software?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
    I don't know the answer to your question but, if one of the things you want to see a map of the world if all the ice cups melted, here is a start:

    This is a video showing this and you may have to be a bit patient to wait for its download and you will need to then click "skip" to skip the annoying add at the start but, other than that, I think this is visually pretty good:

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/what-earth-would-look-like-if-ice-melted-world-map-animation-2015-2
  5. 04 May '15 15:57
    Just looking at the effect of rising sea levels on coast lines is pretty straightforward and is something you could calculate with your smartphone, given a height map of the Earth. I wouldn't know of any user-friendly application that would show the result, though.

    Calculating the effect of changing temperature is extremely difficult.
  6. 04 May '15 18:10
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    ...
    Calculating the effect of changing temperature is extremely difficult.
    yes, which means all the modelling of that is probabilistic in its predictions which, of course, doesn't in any way imply those predictions are invalid or useless.
  7. 04 May '15 18:13
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Just looking at the effect of rising sea levels on coast lines is pretty straightforward and is something you could calculate with your smartphone, given a height map of the Earth. I wouldn't know of any user-friendly application that would show the result, though.

    Calculating the effect of changing temperature is extremely difficult.
    Actually it's not strait forward at all.

    Factors that make it not straightforward...

    You need an accurate ground level map, unfortunately the satellite radar used to create such maps
    has problems with buildings, trees, and certain ground types where the radar can penetrate a way in
    and then reflect. All of which cause accurate maps of ground level to be hard to come by and expensive.
    You can get greater accuracy by aerial/ground surveys, but they are even more expensive.

    You need to factor in not just the hight of the ground, but if there is a path for the sea water to reach
    any given area. There are areas that would be underwater right now if there were not sea defences holding
    the water back. And low lying areas with hills/mountains between them and the sea.
    Making a model that can account for this is much harder and more computationally intensive than simply
    checking the hight [which has an error margin to go with it].
    On top of that you have two more problems.
    First being that some ground types allow water to permeate through them, and so if the sea level rises
    high enough, some inland areas could start to flood even without a direct link to the sea.
    Second, it's hard to predict if or when certain sea defences might be breached [or built] as we defend
    ourselves from rising seas.

    Sea level rise is not uniform. All the maps linked to so far assume uniform sea level rise over the entire
    ocean. However, as the ice sheets melt they loose mass and thus loose gravitational pull.
    This causes the oceans to slump away from the ice sheets as they become less attracted to them.
    This effect is large enough that if you were to simply melt the Greenland ice sheet, some places in
    Greenland and northern America would have sea level drops not rises. Obviously to compensate
    other places, mainly southern hemisphere, would have much larger sea level rises.
    It gets much more complicated when you factor in melting from both ice caps. Basically you need
    to solve a computational model simulating the mass redistribution caused by the melting ice caps.
    Which is not a trivial problem.

    And these are just the problems I can think of off the top of my head.

    This is why there is not an App for this yet.
  8. Standard member forkedknight
    Defend the Universe
    04 May '15 18:44
    Here's an interactive map where you can choose the sea level:
    http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/
  9. 04 May '15 19:28
    Originally posted by forkedknight
    Here's an interactive map where you can choose the sea level:
    http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/
    That's one of the maps posted in the duplicate of this thread in the spirituality forum [no criticism,
    I don't expect anyone to have checked that] and it is subject to all of the problems and simplifications
    outlined in my previous post.
  10. 05 May '15 12:06
    Originally posted by googlefudge
    ... all of the problems and simplifications outlined in my previous post.
    One factor you haven't mentioned is storm surge an erosion. Most coastlines would not change significantly if the sea level rose by 1m on a fine day. But such a small change has a major impact on erosion over time and on the effect of storms on coastal areas.
    Islands that are at risk from rising sea levels really only feel the impact on a few highest tides of the year - but that is enough to damage property and ruin the soil (with salt). And in some cases a storm surge just one metre higher can wipe out a whole city (Katrina).
  11. 05 May '15 12:38
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    One factor you haven't mentioned is storm surge an erosion. Most coastlines would not change significantly if the sea level rose by 1m on a fine day. But such a small change has a major impact on erosion over time and on the effect of storms on coastal areas.
    Islands that are at risk from rising sea levels really only feel the impact on a few highest tid ...[text shortened]... alt). And in some cases a storm surge just one metre higher can wipe out a whole city (Katrina).
    This is certainly another issue, the flip side of the uncertainty in knowing what defences we
    will build and maintain to help defend against rising sea-levels and erosion.

    Also, when trying to create a coastline map for varying sea-levels, you need to take into effect
    the tides. Which in some places go up and down by only a few centimetres, and in others by
    many meters. Which means that areas that might be above the average sea-level might well
    be submerged on a high [spring] tide.
  12. 06 May '15 17:25
    [i]Islands that are at risk from rising sea levels really only feel the impact on a few highest tides of the year - but that is enough to damage property and ruin the soil (with salt). And in some cases a storm surge just one metre higher can wipe out a whole city (Katrina).[/b]
    Katrina didn't wipe New Orleans out. Bad planning of the protection was. I hope my politicians aren't as lazy as theirs.
    If the barriers were maintained better they would hold and Katrina wouldn't hurt New Orleans.

    Question: How long will the barriers in the Netherlands hold? Anyone?