Forum:Do Vacuum worlds have a climate?

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Forums: Index > Watercooler > Do Vacuum worlds have a climate?



Climate & Worlds (July 2017)[edit]

In the edit war over Cyrene (world), my assertion is that ice-capped worlds (Ic) do not automatically qualify for Cold or Frozen status. This is because ice-capped worlds are always vacuum worlds (atmosphere 0 or 1). It does need to be cold for ice to form. But what is the climate of the vacuum world? Say, for example, the lunar surface. Where temperatures range from 250°F to -250°F. Over a period of two weeks. So what is the climate for the moon?

In addition the Cold (Co) status indicats only the world is in the first orbit out from the habitable zone (HZ+1), which implies cold. But you can have worlds in the habitable zone orbit that are cold enough to have Ice over much of the surface, if the orbit is in the outer range of the habitable zone.


Not really an edit war (That's a heavy handed approach...), but what is climate? Is it patterns of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time?
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:20, 13 July 2017 (EDT)

A region's climate is generated by the climate system, which has five components: atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere... as per Wikipedia...
and vacuum worlds would (at least in my opinion) be hard pressed to support a biosphere. Ssteve (talk) 08:37, 13 July 2017 (EDT)

And a vacuum world is missing the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and, usually, the cryosphere. So what again exactly is the climate of a vacuum world? Tjoneslo (talk) 22:34, 13 July 2017 (EDT)

Vacuum worlds might have what some may consider a hydrosphere; the Hydro implies water, but I think most of us would consider any liquid part of the “hydrosphere” for the sake of this discussion. The cryosphere would then extend to that part of the hydrosphere that is not liquid at the ambient temperature. Ssteve (talk) 10:11, 14 July 2017 (EDT)

Does a vacuum world have a temperature? What exactly is a temperature?
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 22:58, 13 July 2017 (EDT)

Temperature implies that you have heat. That heat for a world is normally the result of stellar radiation, or internal “volcanic” activity, although natural occurring radioactives may also be a source of said heat. That heat could conceivably provide us with an atmosphere, hydrosphere and/or cryosphere. Think of mercury (Hg), it has a freezing point of −38.83 °C and a boiling point of 356.73 °C; so depending on the temperatures… Ssteve (talk) 10:11, 14 July 2017 (EDT)

Exactly, Steve. I so agree with you. Great points.
What is the average temperature of the interstellar medium?
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:17, 16 July 2017 (EDT)

There are two problems here. First is Vacuum world climate. Which we could beat to death easily. The second, more important, item is the confusion between the terms in the trade classes for "Climate" and "Cold" and the exact rule definition "HZ+1" (Habitable Zone orbit + 1). Most of the descriptions for the worlds in Dagudashaag do not include orbital positions. So I'm objecting to the inclusion of the "Co" trade class based upon the descriptions which don't match the specific rule.
Tjoneslo (talk) 20:36, 15 July 2017 (EDT)

What are the specific rules for this case, Thomas? Where can I find them? I have T5 and it does not have clear rules.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:17, 16 July 2017 (EDT)

Sure it does:
T5.09 p. 408, Table 2b, Mainworld orbit has the orbit->climate mapping.
T5.09 p. 410, the large table under climate, the codes for Frozen, Hot, Cold, Tropic, Tundra, and Twilight Zone all have orbital zone descriptions in the comments field to the right side of the table.
T5.09: p.490-491, This section has a longer description of trade codes. Many of these descriptions are at odds with or contradict the ones used in the wiki. Also all have the orbital descriptions.
T5.09: p.492, another copy of the table from p.410
T5.09: p556, Another, different, description of the climate trade codes. Part of the Sophont Homeworld generation process.

Thanks so much.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:14, 17 July 2017 (EDT)

In systems with multiple lower-powered stars, is it possible to have a Cold zone in an area that might never be in a traditional monostellar star system?
Astrophysics would seem to indicate that this is a distinct possibility. What is the average temperature of the interstellar medium?
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 07:29, 17 July 2017 (EDT)

It's possible. Usually involving highly elliptical orbits for either planets or one or another of the stars.
The temperature of the interstellar medium is 2.725 K. I think instead what you are looking for is Black body temperature. There is a good description and calculations in Book 6, p. 47-48. Tjoneslo (talk) 20:56, 17 July 2017 (EDT)

I will respond later.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 06:53, 18 July 2017 (EDT)

Face Value & Actual Meaning (July 2017)[edit]

We do two different things:

Reading the text at a surface level and reading into the text at a deeper level to decipher what it means. Exegesis. Hermeneutics. Beyond literal and surface meaning. Minimalism versus maximalism.

  1. Reading the text at the literal surface level. (“It says HZ+1 on the table.”)
  2. Reading the text at a deeper level to decipher what it means. (“Why do both Tr and Ho read HZ+1, but their textual definitions indicate other conclusions? Are one of both inside of outside of the HZ?”)

I call it unclear because it doesn’t literally explain itself well. It’s vague and very subjective in many places. It’s also typo-ridden and full of logical inconsistencies. That’s not a value judgment. I still love it for what it is, but those are simple factual statements. For instance, is a tropical (Tr) and/or hot (Ho) world inside or outside of the habitable zone (HZ)? The text has different conflicting explanations. HZ-1 should indicate outside of the hab zone. But both (Tr) and (Ho) have that (HZ-1) definition, while also having text that indicates otherwise. Hot is at the limit of endurance, but inhospitable. Tropical is still hospitable, but uncomfortable. And while we have a frigid code (HZ+2), we also have a tundra (Tu) and a cold (Co) code, which are conflictingly both called (HZ-1). And we lack a (HZ-2) code, which should be really hot, but we also have an Inferno world (In) listed without a two-letter trade classification (TC) code, but not really expanded upon or well explained. The same with rad worlds and others. What do they mean? That’s up to us to make sense of it.

I have been trying to make sense of it while reconciling it to GURPS Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, and the other incarnations of Traveller. That’s well within the purview of the non-canon allowed and fan resource wiki. What’s right or wrong? All of it and none of it.

It’s not well explained.

This also beyond the reason why FFE uses the Tp code in the AOTI novel, but it’s not in the large T5 paperweight / Tome of Lore. Did it develop later? Was it overlooked? Is it a mistake? Should we care? We’re not arguing about the Tp code… We’re saving that argument for Co, Va, Lt and Ht.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 15:24, 21 July 2017 (EDT)

If you read the references I provided, you would see that Hot (Ho) is just in HZ-1, but Tropic (Tr) includes the requirements for being size 6-9, Atmosphere 4-9, and hydrographic 3-7 in addition to being Hz-1. There is a similar difference for the Tundra (Tu) vs Cold (Co). So it's clear from the tables the two/four are different, and easy to see what they are.
There are worlds that are described as "Hot", "Tropical", "Tundra", or "Cold" that don't fit the precise definitions of the trade codes. So the question becomes do we want to expand the rules definitions of the trade codes to cover these worlds, or do we want to accept the idea authors may have written their world descriptions to the rules. More precisely, almost all of the world descriptions in the wiki were written before the T5 rules/definitions for the climate code were published. So it's possible to have a world described as "Cold", but not fit the definitions required for the "Co" trade code. I see no conflict here.
For the Temperate code there is a T5.09 Errata Thread. It's fan addition from Galactic and used in some of the fan generated sectors. But the climate trade codes were never added to official rules until T5.
As a second edit: I realize the term "Climate" for these codes is wrong. A better description should be "Orbital position". So we would have Inferno (If, HZ-2), Hot (Ho, Hz - 1), Habitable Zone (Hz, Hz), Cold (Co, Hz + 1), and Frozen (Fr, Hz + 2). Usually the Hz code is omitted because it is assumed.
Tjoneslo (talk) 22:44, 21 July 2017 (EDT)

I didn't just read them. I transcribed them. You make an assumption when you write "if."

I would love to learn your interpretation since we are not yet on the same page.
You may also notice that there are different definitions in different parts of the T5 book. Not consistent.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 22:48, 21 July 2017 (EDT)

I realize the term "Climate" for these codes is wrong. A better description should be "Orbital position". So we would have Inferno (If, HZ-2), Hot (Ho, Hz - 1), Habitable Zone (Hz, Hz), Cold (Co, Hz + 1), and Frozen (Fr, Hz + 2). Usually the Hz code is omitted because it is assumed. Tjoneslo (talk) 23:54, 21 July 2017 (EDT)

All of the assumptions, omissions, and forget-to-mentions really suck for fans.
It's probably a really good idea to get explicit and make these things easy to understand. As easy as possible.
That's why I bother even though I have to paddle upstream against you so much of the time.
And I hesitate to ever get Marc involved because I think his time is better spent working on the next novel.
We really ought to just talk on the phone some time and form some sort of a positive connection. We can preserve the records later as you wish.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 00:22, 22 July 2017 (EDT)

I fail to understand your point. We're in agreement here:
1) The T5.09 rules descriptions of these codes, indeed all of them are inconsistent, and should be updated. When the process of submitting Errata for the rules resumes these points should be on the list.
2) Describing these codes as climate codes contributes to the confusion because what the rules describe and text implies are at odds.
3) There are at least two orbital position codes missing (HZ-2 and HZ), which makes it difficult to apply them, and there are two redundant ones, again with no clarification for application.
The point where we need clarification is do we need climate codes for planets at all?
As you point out in your description below, when a system has more than one star, the climate of a world will vary. Book 6, page 42 has the rules for calculating this effect. Planets are also big places, and the climate varies across them widely.
The DGP World Builder's Handbook have the description of how to calculate temperature differences across the surface of a world based upon the primary. So is there any good way, or real reason, to make a single trade code to describe a planet climate?
Tjoneslo (talk) 08:53, 22 July 2017 (EDT)

Is anyone doing errata anymore now that Don is gone? RIP.
Were you ever an engineer or a computer programmer? You have a distinct skill set.
Yes, I think the climate codes are valuable for players and fans. Worth preserving rather than tossing out the baby with the bathwater over quibbling.
Thanks for your communication.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 09:12, 22 July 2017 (EDT)

The world builder series is worth figuring out:

Marc Miller. Worlds and Adventures (Game Designers Workshop, 1977), .Marc MillerRobert EaglestoneDon McKinney. Worlds and Adventures (Far Future Enterprises, 2019), .(1977) created the UWP, which was later expanded with "Extended UWP Statistics", and was continued with the following products:


I would add this this list:
* GURPS Traveller: First In (1999) by Steve Jackson Games
* Mongoose Traveller: Scout (2009) by Mongoose Publishing
Tjoneslo (talk) 17:01, 22 July 2017 (EDT)

Great additions. When do you plan to do it?

I salute your choices.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 09:37, 23 July 2017 (EDT)

 ?? Do what exactly?
I don't like the idea of climate trade code for all the reasons listed above and will object to their addition. The orbital parameters trade codes are interesting, but require the generation of the full system to accurately calculate, and that violates the "MORAN" principle. Tjoneslo (talk) 18:25, 23 July 2017 (EDT)

Do what? Add the two references into the worldbuilding series.
What do you mean by MORAN? Map Only Really as Necessary?
That's not what wikis are about. Everything we do violates that principle at the level you interpret it at, which is for referees to save them work. Our job makes theirs easier, which is fully in compliance for the ultimate goal of MORAN, if that's what you mean.
My strategies and those of the community I represent are ultimately to support the referee, player, and fan community, all of them, not just the old grognards intimately acquainted with the OTU. When I discuss this, you usually seem to miss or ignore this.
Written communication is insufficient to communicate with you. That's is why I have politely requested an expansion of communication with you for a number of years.
You and Rancke pretty much have objected to almost everything anyway. Others too. Most of whom readily use the features that I have slowly added to the wiki along with the team I work with.
Anything and everything has habitually been a fight with you, even when you later co-opted and overwrote the idea/s that I and others have introduced to the wiki, many with explicit inner circle encouragement including that of FFE.
I think this reaction is just a part of much of the older grognard community. We really need to get past that attitude and move on to supporting each other and making Traveller more accessible.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 23:52, 23 July 2017 (EDT)

Monostellar vs. Polystellar (July 2017)[edit]

Why we need to look deeper at the TC’s & Climate codes (c. 2017)
Orbital descriptions have lots of meaning in a monostellar system.

Orbital descriptions get far more complicated in a polystellar system. Two or more stars can really change the radiation intake on what might be a As or Va world. The gravitational and radiative relationships can get quite complex. The fairly safe assumptions made in a monostellar system are absolutely no longer safe in a polystellar system.

I have defaulted to a Co climate code on As and Va worlds in the absence of instruction or clear guidance. A Fr climate code is just as possible. The natural tendency of water in an intrasystem or even transystemic location is as frigid ice. The vast majority of the interstellar medium is well below the freezing point of water, even considering variable pressures, cosmic radiation, and other variables. You have to get pretty close to a star before frozen water is no longer a given.

Ic is not well defined. It reads ice-capped, but is it ice-capped (poles) or ice-covered (frozen through)? An Ic world under the T5 definitions could easily be Co or Fr. When I write to you that the T5 materials are often unclear, that’s what I mean. Even if you insist that some of those citations are really quite clear. They don’t draw distinctions and the orbital data has acknowledged limitations, even before we consider polystellar systems, which are quite common and a serious factor, not some ultra-rare circus spectacle. I do regret that this often causes you consternation.

Co seems to be a better default position considering story variables. Easier to explore, closer to the mainworld if it is not a mainworld, and more likely to have exploitable resources of a conventional nature.

Belters will deal with As worlds, which are probably Fr by default. Frozen water certainly gets mined by belters. And isn’t As just a type of Va? Same lack of atmosphere. As has more friends though. But neither As or Va have achieved gravitational rounding making them sub-planets, planisimos, planetoids, or whatever other term gets employed to indicate worlds or spatial objects with a microgravity OR without a significant gravity.

- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 15:26, 21 July 2017 (EDT)

Maybe I'm splitting hairs here.... to me Va implies a world size of 1 or greater; that provide a sizeable body that has a considerable gravity. Maybe not near enough to retain a measurable (or at least reasonably useable) atmosphere. "As" in my mind is a small body (so less than size 1 (1600km diameter)), that would have "neglible" gravity to retain an "Atmosphere". Ssteve (talk) 18:12, 25 July 2017 (EDT)


I get you, Steve. We don't really have a super well defined line between plantesimal, planemo, planetoid, and planet, let alone the other terms.

T5 says: Vacuum World Atm= none
T5 says: Worldlet Siz= 1D - 3
Planetoids are the worldlets of a Belt. The Population, Government, and Law Level represent the general level throughout the Belt.
I would imagine that the functional line involves gravitational rounding.
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 20:34, 25 July 2017 (EDT)