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Los Angeles' weather is just like MORDOR, says Brit climate prof

And you oughta hear what he compares Leicestershire to

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The weather in Middle-earth overlord Sauron's home county of Mordor is directly comparable to the balmy climate of the US city of Los Angeles, according to a British scientist.

Dr Dan Lunt, an academic at Bristol University, has used his Oxbridge degree and extensive weather modelling skills to produce a simulation of the climate in Tolkien's Middle-earth.

Using the pseudonym Radagast the Brown, Lunt produced a paper discussing the different weather conditions in different parts of the fantasy world.

He scanned Tolkien's maps of Middle-earth into a supercomputer at the Advanced Centre for Research Computing to produce the most accurate (and quite possibly only) climate map of Middle-earth ever attempted.

The Shire, home to the hobbits, was found to have a similar climate to the English county of Leicestershire, while Mordor, home to the evil Sauron and his bands of orcs, was comparable to Los Angeles.

Lunt also studied the rising air above the Misty Mountains, the prevailing wind and even the climatic effects of Middle-earth's vegetation on the weather. However, in his report the boffin admitted that this vegetation model did not include data from "forest fires caused (inadvertently or otherwise) by dragons, deforestation by dwarves, the growing of pipe-weed by hobbits, or the wanton destruction by orcs", which could affect the overall temperature.

Lunt said: “This work is a bit of fun, but it does have a serious side. A core part of our work here in Bristol involves using state-of-the-art climate models to simulate and understand the past climate of our Earth. By comparing our results to evidence of past climate change, for example from tree rings, ice cores, and ancient fossils of plants and animals, we can validate the climate models, and gain confidence in the accuracy of their predictions of future climate.”

The University of Bristol were keen to stress that Lunt undertook this research in his own time. Nonetheless, Lunt will be glad to have developed one type of simulation to rule them all.

Professor Richard Pancost, Director of the Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol said: “Because climate models are based on fundamental scientific processes, they are able not only to simulate the climate of the modern Earth, but can also be easily adapted to simulate any planet, real or imagined, so long as the underlying continental positions and heights, and ocean depths are known.”

To satisfy Bristol University's strict diversity policies, the paper also comes in Elvish and Dwarfish. ®

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