Author Topic: Consistently Overcast Skies  (Read 725 times)

The Invisible Man

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Consistently Overcast Skies
« on: June 12, 2017, 03:44:58 pm »
This is a question for a writing project... anyone know how feasible it would be to grow crops in an environment where it is ALWAYS completely overcast? You know, almost as if the gods willed it, or it was magic or some shit. Could stuff be grown? Its a hard question to google answers for...

All help is appreciated.

LuciferX

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2017, 03:53:57 pm »
 Can't say. Just for an angle, I remember something about "shade-grown" coffee being a thing.
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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2017, 03:57:41 pm »
Not a climate expert, so take with a grain of salt.

Yes, permanently overcast is a viable environment, assuming you're talking about moderately overcast, maybe with the occasional almost break in the clouds. There are plenty of plants that survive and even thrive in partial to full shade conditions. Depending on how long this has been going on, these plants will naturally branch out to fill the ecological niches left behind by the plants that fail to thrive in less than full sun. People will work almost immediately after the disaster to breed crops that can sustain them in the new environment.

As a quick reference, ten seconds on google yielded this: http://growagoodlife.com/vegetables-that-grow-in-shade/ and this http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/shade-tolerant-vegetables-zm0z11zsto

Crop yields would be reduced, both in the types of plants that can be grown and the overall food produced. If it was a sudden disaster, there would be a major crisis and die-off. If it was a gradual thing you'll still have the die-off, but it will be a slow process that history might not even take note of.
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The Invisible Man

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2017, 05:00:27 pm »
Thanks QG! I guess I should have searched longer than 9 seconds!

That info will be very helpful.

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2017, 05:23:09 pm »
Thanks QG! I guess I should have searched longer than 9 seconds!

That info will be very helpful.

You didn't know what to look for. The setting I've been playing around with for 3+ years went from magical full shade to too much sun overnight, so I'd already done some leg work.
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The Invisible Man

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2017, 08:42:11 pm »
Thanks QG! I guess I should have searched longer than 9 seconds!

That info will be very helpful.

You didn't know what to look for. The setting I've been playing around with for 3+ years went from magical full shade to too much sun overnight, so I'd already done some leg work.

Mine is basically an even more extreme version of Britain's bad weather. As a curse from the gods. Curious as to what could turn your setting from full shade to too much sun overnight though!

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2017, 11:41:47 pm »
This is a question for a writing project... anyone know how feasible it would be to grow crops in an environment where it is ALWAYS completely overcast? You know, almost as if the gods willed it, or it was magic or some shit. Could stuff be grown? Its a hard question to google answers for...

All help is appreciated.

I have it on good authority that Washington state has plant life.  I have seen the plant life in Portland Oregon.

Neither of these places ever sees the sun.  Ever.  Like not at all.
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2017, 01:45:00 am »
Mine is basically an even more extreme version of Britain's bad weather. As a curse from the gods. Curious as to what could turn your setting from full shade to too much sun overnight though!

This was the Mistborn thing. The supernatural full shade was due to bullshit ash spewing volcanoes 24/7, and our PC group shut them off with bullshit magic at the end of the campaign. It was a little difficult to extrapolate what comes next for the legacy campaigns, because the Word Of God from Sanderson (creator of the setting) is completely garbage. Like, "the bad guy moved the world too close to the sun so everyone had to move to the poles and the ash is to keep the scary hot sun away" stupid. Actually, worse, because he didn't want to deal with near 24 hour sunlight in the summer days, or losing the concept of seasons, so even though it's supposed to be "near the pole" they're actually roughly where the northern continental US is...  :roll:

Where I wound up with it was building the planet out as a super earth, the equatorial regions are legitimately uninhabitable, but the region that we thought was the whole world was artificially isolated from the rest of the northern hemisphere. I picked a bunch of heat tolerant trees as major crops and did a little work on a sun cult following the first year of OH SHIT WHAT'S A SUNBURN?
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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2017, 11:27:55 am »
Plants that grow in shade are not a completely fair comparison. It wouldn't just be the overcast but also the lower temperatures that would cause a problem. If you can handwave a reason for the temperature to stay within similar ranges as now then you could use shade loving plants as a baseline but plants are in shade because the sun which generates the heat to enable plant growth isn't falling on them directly, not because it is permanently blocked. Just a thought.
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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2017, 04:13:14 pm »
There are a lot of considerations. One of them is that without plants in the first place, you wouldn't ever be likely to have a cloud cover in the first place. Basically, if this is an imaginary planet, you have to design the planet, and then you can build life with a backstory. For example, you might have a warm planet with a constantly-cycling thin cloud cover around the equator due to all the plant life. Light and heat still get through the clouds, and they can act as a pretty effective greenhouse layer.
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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2017, 04:48:52 pm »
There are a lot of considerations. One of them is that without plants in the first place, you wouldn't ever be likely to have a cloud cover in the first place. Basically, if this is an imaginary planet, you have to design the planet, and then you can build life with a backstory. For example, you might have a warm planet with a constantly-cycling thin cloud cover around the equator due to all the plant life. Light and heat still get through the clouds, and they can act as a pretty effective greenhouse layer.

The planet is very earth-like, and the constant cloud cover is basically over a landmass the size of the UK. The rest of the planet has regular weather, more or less. It is thought that this one landmass has been cursed by the gods, and has been covered by clouds for at least a few hundred years. Presumably it had more regular weather beforehand.

So I would assume whatever regular crops they had pre-cloud cover would start to yield less and less each harvest, with some of the heartier crops holding on.

The crops aren't a huge part of the story, though the cloud cover eventually would be. Basically wondering if it would be possible for this land to grow its own crops or whether they would have to be imported in from more hospitable lands.

It sounds to me like it would be possible, though the results would be meagre and they would likely depend on imports quite a bit.

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2017, 05:06:08 pm »
How long has the curse been going on?
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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2017, 05:08:34 pm »
I've not seen any mention of mushrooms yet. That's worth a quick look as you can grow them in darkness quite easily. Wide range too.

Ultima's pagan setting used this concept quite well.
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The Invisible Man

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2017, 05:13:38 pm »
How long has the curse been going on?

Around 300 years.

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Re: Consistently Overcast Skies
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2017, 06:34:37 pm »
There are a lot of considerations. One of them is that without plants in the first place, you wouldn't ever be likely to have a cloud cover in the first place. Basically, if this is an imaginary planet, you have to design the planet, and then you can build life with a backstory. For example, you might have a warm planet with a constantly-cycling thin cloud cover around the equator due to all the plant life. Light and heat still get through the clouds, and they can act as a pretty effective greenhouse layer.

The planet is very earth-like, and the constant cloud cover is basically over a landmass the size of the UK. The rest of the planet has regular weather, more or less. It is thought that this one landmass has been cursed by the gods, and has been covered by clouds for at least a few hundred years. Presumably it had more regular weather beforehand.

So I would assume whatever regular crops they had pre-cloud cover would start to yield less and less each harvest, with some of the heartier crops holding on.

The crops aren't a huge part of the story, though the cloud cover eventually would be. Basically wondering if it would be possible for this land to grow its own crops or whether they would have to be imported in from more hospitable lands.

It sounds to me like it would be possible, though the results would be meagre and they would likely depend on imports quite a bit.

Is it just sort of that typical misty-grey light cloud cover that sprinkles occasionally? Lots of crops grow fairly well under those conditions. You'd be looking at a lot of greens, root vegetables, not so much fruit, not a lot of grains. Rice might be OK. If we're talking thick dark clouds and heavy rain, you would have a serious problem; seeds couldn't get hold, you'd end up with severe runoff and erosion.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”