1. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Interesting weather-related apocalypses

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nicoel, May 27, 2015.

    I want to write a weather-related apocalyptic scenario, but I can't seem to come up with a good enough one. There has to be a way to survive it, and it has to be interesting!

    The only thing I can come up with is a supervolcano erupting like yellowstone. Which that's pretty interesting, but after the initial bang everyone's just being poisoned and freezing to death.

    I also like the idea of it being cold outside during it. Anyone have any suggestions?

    edit-
    It doesn't specifically have to be with weather, I just don't want to write about aliens, and diseases and things of that nature. A government takeover would be like "ehhh" on that end too.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  2. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    Ice melting and rise of the global sea level? Highly believable, and, unfortunately, inevitable.
     
  3. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    But it would be maybe too slow and not interesting enough for your plot. Although, it would certainly take a great number of people to move...
    Check this movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1190080/ for ideas. All sorts of apocalyptic scenarios to choose from.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, supervolcanoes would certainly hurt life on this planet. As would an asteroid hitting earth, which is now believed is what wiped out the dinosaurs (but obviously not all life.)

    The difference for you as a writer would be the suddenness of the disaster. As @Ivana pointed out, global warming is slow ...and the results of it won't be instantaneous. In other words, you're not likely to find one generation going from perfectly fine to nearly all dead due to global warming. Things will deteriorate gradually as sea levels rise. Weather changes, one by one coastal cities sink into the sea and people who can, move inland, etc. Economic structures collapse, people starve, lose their homes and incomes. But there will also be a point where the sea can't rise any more because all the ice is gone. So things will stabilise and a new order will begin to emerge.

    An asteroid, however, is a sudden thing. With our ability to watch the stars and sky, it's unlikely that it would take us by surprise, so there would be some time to prepare for it. However, the effect on the planet would be devastating. It might be interesting to explore that time between knowing it's coming and the time that it actually hits. That's when people will really be stressed, figuring out how to survive, stockpiling, gripped by greed and fear, etc. Once it hits, then things get down to pure survival.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  5. smhlolroflbrb
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    smhlolroflbrb Unauthorized Reentry

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    Hmm... how about a nuclear bomb and nuclear winter?
     
  6. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    What about a story about the Earth being hurled out of its orbit? A heavy enough object in space could disturb our path around the sun, causing our planet to wonder between the stars.

    The surfaces of the oceans would freeze, but since ice is a good insulator, the depths of the oceans would stay warn enough to support life.

    Humans could rely on fossil and nuclear fuels near the surface for a short time, but may have to migrate to underground dwellings and use geothermal energy.
     
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  7. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    That sounds cool. :)
     
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  8. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The rainbow apocalypse. Rainbows start reaching all the way to the ground, crushing people and famous buildings under giant pots of gold.
     
  9. Lea`Brooks
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    You could go The Knowing route and do a solar flare. Typically solar flares only effect electronics and such. But in that movie (spoiler) it's a huge catastrophe that hits pretty much the entire earth and kills everyone. lol You could make it a more subtle solar flare.

    Or, you could simply do an incurable disease. That's a pretty common thing these days. In Maze Runner they have a disease called the Flare (which I believe may have happened after the solar flare?) which destroys their mind and almost makes them rabid. Depending on the disease, it can travel very quickly. Look at Ebola.

    Or, you could go the Jericho route and do a nuclear bomb. Radiation would get in the air and the clouds and rain, poisoning anyone nearby. And the bomb doesn't have to be dropped by someone. Maybe the US was storing one somewhere, it became unstable, and just blew up on its own. Or, keeping with that same scenario, you could simply have a nuclear power plant meltdown (Chernobyl, Fukushima) which would do the same thing as a bomb. Or, a massive earthquake could corrupt the plant or the bomb, which would make them explode.

    Lots of options. :) Good luck!
     
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  10. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see what you did there ;)
     
  11. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    This is actually in my top 3 favorite movies of all time. I bet I've seen it 20+ times.
     
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  12. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    @jannert @ToeKneeBlack
    I really like both of those ideas... What if I were to combine them? NASA knows that the asteroid is coming, and it gets leaked to the public and everyone tries to stockpile and figure out a way to survive, but once the asteroid actually hits - it's much bigger and harder than the scientists calculated and knocks earth out of orbit. How likely is it that it would knock earth out of orbit though?

    I read a book where an asteroid hits the moon, and so the gravitational pull caused a ton of tsunami's and earthquakes and things like that. It was a really good book - have you heard of it?
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    No, I've not heard of that one. However, your scenario sounds good from a story viewpoint, although doing something like knocking earth out of orbit will require a LOT of research if you don't want the scientific community laughing and pointing at inaccuracies. That's the kind of thing that makes me NOT write sci-fi, even though I love to read it!

    What will make your book sing is concentrating on what these apocalyptic changes will do to your characters. Always keep them in mind, and let us see this disaster from their perspective. All the good 'disaster' and 'post apocalyptic' stories do that. Maybe the people affected don't have any idea what has actually happened. How would they? A disaster of this magnitude would wipe out all communication, all the social and economic structures we depend upon will be gone. An asteroid big enough to do that kind of damage would cause the sky to blacken, so people might not even be aware of whether it's day or night ... and would probably not notice that the sky has suddenly changed.

    An asteroid hit of any large magnitude on land would probably cause a permanent winter, by throwing up debris into the atmosphere that blackens the sky ...which then causes plants to die, food to get scarce, etc. I don't know what would happen if the asteroid struck an ocean rather than land ...might change that ...or not. Lots of possibilities. But make sure the characters are the ones who convey the story, if you want people to really get sucked into this nightmare.
     
  14. ToeKneeBlack
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    An object massive enough to "knock" it out of orbit in an impact would most likely turn the surface into a wasteland of molten rock, wiping out pretty much everything.

    A way to have both scenarios without killing everyone would be to have a smaller impactor which was in orbit around the massive object which pulls the Earth from its orbit with its gravity. The impactor could be an asteroid (or several) dragged from its own orbit in our solar system.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    If you want survivable reality, the CO2 in the ocean is going to cause a mass extinction of ocean life and a collapse of the food chain and global warming is going to cause great water shortages long before all the coastal areas flood, (though that won't be far behind). There are glaciers in many parts of the world that supply major rivers which are the main source of water for billions of people. Global warming will mean the end of many of those glaciers.

    Fracking has the chance of setting off the New Madras fault and could very well contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest in the US, as well as the smaller, but no less important ones.

    The Cascadia Fault is within the 300-500 year time frame that means it could rupture again at any time.

    When (not if) the next La Palma volcanic landslide occurs, the mega tsunami will dwarf all tsunamis we've seen in historic times.

    But the real mega disaster, one that would dwarf a Yellowstone eruption, would be something like the Deccan Traps or other flood basalt eruptions, believed to be one of the causes of past mass extinctions.

    Then there is the potential, though much less likely, of a nearby enough supernova wiping out a large proportion of life on Earth.

    Ah yes, the potential means of wiping out life on Earth are many. :)


    [Friggin weird board code, hopefully I fixed all the links.]
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It would take one huge planetary body to knock either the Earth or the Moon out of their orbits. Chances are an object that large striking either would cause so much damage that the orbits would be a secondary issue.
     
  17. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    The biggest threat today is the rising sea temperatures. Not because of sea levels. That's child's play. But if the oceans get too warm too quickly it will potentially kill off the algae and plankton that provides 80% of the world's oxygen.

    Try that. Imagine Oxygen farms in bubbles or underground, and going outside is toxic, so you need scuba style tanks and breathing gear. So every adventure has a ticking time limit for that resource.
     
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  18. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    And we have to terraform the planet to survive.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The acidification from rising CO2 levels will have a more immediate impact than the temperature. But temperatures are going to wreck havoc on currents and weather patterns, and that includes upwelling which will have its own major impact on life in the sea.
     
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  20. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I lost the link to this thread, and just had to scroll through 2 different sections looking for it. I wish the notifications history was a little bit longer than just 2 pages worth.

    You guys are awesome with your suggestions! I've decided on the meteor scenario, with a few twists that I haven't really thought through yet. OH and I'm a lot more afraid of Global Warming than I was before reading this thread... Unfortunately, I have a strong bias concerning the politics surrounding GW and I don't think I'm the right person to tackle this haha

    What I've decided so far:
    (copied and pasted from another post I'm writing because I'm lazy)
    Right now I've got all the important characters and side characters at a house party to watch the news report on the meteor falling. It's a historical event, and it doesn't seem that serious to them.
    The meteor was so big the government couldn't hide it's existence from the public, but instead didn't tell them exactly how big it is. Everyone's expecting the larger meteor to land harmlessly in the pacific ocean, off of the coast of L.A. (making great TV show). Instead, it's likely to land somewhere off the San Andreas fault which may trigger an earthquake (IDK if that's plausible or not. Research!) and subsequently cause chaos in the country.
    I'm also wondering if the San Andreas quake would trigger yellowstone? Would it build up that pressure or release it?

    I know this will just be the first in a wave of (increasingly more dangerous) meteors striking earth, but I haven't decided if there's going to be a big bad one that will knock Earth out of orbit or not. I would really like to keep Chester the Cat alive.
     
  21. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    That fault and the Yellowstone caldera are not connected.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    It's the Cascadia fault you want to rupture, not the San Andreas.

    As for governments hiding anything about Near Earth Objects, that's fine for fiction, but anyone who knows anything about it laughs at those scenarios. There are simply too many eyes on the sky from amateurs to other countries for any government to hide such information from the public.

    But, in fiction, it's done all the time, so you can use the story line. Or, it can be an object that is hurtling toward us from the direction of the Sun. In that case it's possible the object won't be seen until it is very close.

    Scroll down to the second story, Surprising Recent Discoveries of Three Large Near-Earth Objects
     
  23. J Faceless
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    J Faceless Active Member

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    Earth losing its orbit, slowly orbiting farther away from the sun, as it gets colder, and the air thinner. People would be forced to live underground, or in domed cities, only leaving to farm ice for water.
     
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  24. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    If you're still open to suggestions, or think that the idea NASA could keep the existence of a meteor a secret is pretty far fetched (which it is), there's always a Gamma Ray Burst.

    A GRB is the last emission of some stuff we don't know. Could be a super nova, could be a black hole evaporating. They're highly focused, less than an AU across and are most powerful bursts of radiation know to science. In less than 10 milliseconds a Gamma Ray Burst emits more radiation than the sun will in it's entire 10 billion year lifetime. In context, a GRB that struck earth would annihilate every living thing on the hemisphere that was facing it in a matter of only seconds.

    Fortunately the gamma rays travel at the speed of light, so one a distance of 1-100,000,000 lights years away would give us plenty of warning. But it's good if you want a conspiracy, because the gamma rays can only be detected with sensitive equipment. Not something an amateur astronomer could load up into the back of a truck. To the naked telescope it would just look like a very bright star.
     
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  25. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    Hmm, well it isn't that NASA is keeping the meteor a 100% secret, but NASA only noticed it a month before it's calculated strike (probably using the info GingerCoffee said above). I'm sure "unofficial" sources and common people said something about it, but it wasn't mentioned by the big news sources (i.e. CNN, FOX, etc) until NASA lets out a statement about a week before the landing, and even then, they're saying that it's going to be a harmless fall in the ocean. Which is why I have all my characters at a party, gathered around the TV, to watch it fall in the ocean. Generally, most people don't believe something until it's on the news in a big press release by a "trusted source", which is what I'm relying on.

    For example, I can give my friend the facts until I'm blue in the face and she'll just respond with, "I just want to talk to a professional about it." Then when she does, she'll come back repeating the same thing I told her a month ago, acting like they're words from God Himself.

    Does this sound a little more plausible?

    --
    I would love to go with the radiation idea, but I have a harder time with that kind of science. I made a higher grade in Geology than I did chem aha.
    --

    @GingerCoffee - That's a better fault line, and yeah, that's probably the only way I'm going to get away with the big guys not seeing the Large Rock for a long time yet. Does my plot still seem holey?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015

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