Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

How the Earth was tilted...

Here's the (very lightly) edited map with my descriptive text etc. - this will be a one-page box in the chapter on the Anglo-Saxon Empire

The Earth immediately after its axis was moved. Although there appears to be little change to a casual observer, London is now at 35° North and the Equator now passes through Liberia, Guyana, and Papua New Guinea. Northern Australia is just below the Equator, most of Alaska and Siberia are much closer to the North Pole and experience Arctic conditions year-round. When this map was made the poles were still in their original positions; within 25 years the north polar icecap was once again centred on the North Pole, and starting to expand onto the Siberian and Alaskan mainland, but the southern icecap is not free to move so readily; more than a century later it is still slowly retreating on the 180° meridian, advancing on the Prime Meridian. The Earth’s axial tilt was only reduced slightly, to 20°, to ensure that there are still seasons. NelC

The Polar Adjustment
The Empire’s most ambitious engineering project to date was the adjustment of the position of the Earth’s rotational axis and axial tilt, to give Britain and northern Europe a better climate, in 2118-25. The process was an extremely complicated feat of gravitational engineering, requiring hundreds of huge coils to selectively enhance or neutralise the Earth’s gravity, thus throwing the entire planet very slightly off balance and causing the axis to slowly shift towards its current position and alignment. Preliminary works included a programme of geological engineering, to relieve stresses in the major faults and prevent earthquakes, construction of gigantic breakwaters and baffles to prevent flooding and tidal waves, etc. On the whole it was extremely successful, although there were several regrettable disasters in areas whose governments refused to cooperate with the Empire, most notably earthquakes and volcanoes in areas of the Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere and along the Pacific “ring of fire.” The populations of several islands and some coastal areas had to be evacuated until the work was completed. Efforts to prevent the spread of deserts towards Europe were mostly successful, with Stuberoff shields cooling large areas.

The long-term effects met or exceeded expectations. Europe is now warmer and heavy winter wardrobes are a thing of the past. There were major benefits to the Empire’s economy; the project employed tens of thousands of engineers and scientists, and developed expertise that could be applied to space travel and civil engineering. The gravitic installations were designed from the outset for easy conversion to power stations once the project was completed; many were still in service at the beginning of the Sirian war.

Environmental effects were largely positive, but included the loss or reduction of several hundred species unable to adjust to the changed conditions. European swifts, albatrosses, beluga whales, and the Alaskan caribou are now extinct in the wild, though specimens survive in captivity. Disruption of ocean currents was considerable, and for several years it was feared that the Gulf Stream would “shut down” completely, but time and the construction of additional underwater barriers slowly solved the problem. One problem that should have been anticipated was the spread of malaria to Europe, but subsequent programmes of eradication have slowly wiped out mosquitoes, locusts, and other insect species that took advantage of the new climate to move north.

Today the changed world is taken for granted, and few remember the heroic efforts that transformed it.

I have no idea why the bottom right corner of the picture is missing - it's on the file I uploaded!

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