What-if ####: "Global Windstorm" (mashable.com)

What if there was a forum for discussing these?

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

PracticalM
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:42 pm UTC

What-if ####: "Global Windstorm" (mashable.com)

Postby PracticalM » Tue Aug 26, 2014 5:43 pm UTC

Q. What would happen if the Earth and all terrestrial objects suddenly stopped spinning, but the atmosphere retained its velocity?
— Andrew Brown
A. NEARLY EVERYONE WOULD DIE. Then things would get interesting.

http://mashable.com/2014/08/23/what-if- ... -main-link

Anyone have an idea of how long it would take before the day would be back to 24 hours?

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 3566
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:03 pm UTC

And as the moon's orbital energy is transferred back into Earth's rotational energy, the moon's orbit would decay and eventually it would lovingly embrace our planet in a mutual fiery death. Then we can finally be together again. Forever.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

rmsgrey
Posts: 2986
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:40 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:And as the moon's orbital energy is transferred back into Earth's rotational energy, the moon's orbit would decay and eventually it would lovingly embrace our planet in a mutual fiery death. Then we can finally be together again. Forever.


Except that once the moon gets close enough, the tidal stresses will break it up, and Earth will become a ringed planet.

Mikeynolan
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:49 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby Mikeynolan » Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:02 am UTC

It says that the waves would go from East to West, but that seems backwards: The Earth stops turning towards the East, but the wind continues. Is it more complicated?

rmsgrey
Posts: 2986
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 6:35 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:18 am UTC

Mikeynolan wrote:It says that the waves would go from East to West, but that seems backwards: The Earth stops turning towards the East, but the wind continues. Is it more complicated?


You're right - from the air's perspective, it's like the Earth suddenly started turning to follow the Sun (to one part in 365-or so), so the air sees the Earth moving East to West below it, or the Earth sees the air moving West to East, taking the freak storms with it.

blademan9999
Posts: 40
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 5:18 am UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby blademan9999 » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:05 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:And as the moon's orbital energy is transferred back into Earth's rotational energy, the moon's orbit would decay and eventually it would lovingly embrace our planet in a mutual fiery death. Then we can finally be together again. Forever.


Actually the rotational energy needed for the earth to rotate once for every time the moon orbits is very small compared to the moons kinetic energy.
The earth would end up spinning at the same frequency that the moon orbits.
http://officeofstrategicinfluence.com/spam/
That link kills spam[/size][/b][/u]

dtilque
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:53 am UTC
Location: Nogero

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby dtilque » Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:40 pm UTC

blademan9999 wrote:The earth would end up spinning at the same frequency that the moon orbits.


At which point, the two would be tidally locked and the Moon would stop moving inward. Don't know how long the day/month would be, but somewhat less than the current 29-day period of the Moon. It'll take a fair amount of time to get there, hundreds of thousands if not millions of years.

But no breakup of the Moon since it won't get anywhere near the Roch limit.


BTW, another effect that Munroe didn't mention is that all the ships at sea will sink even if the wind doesn't destroy them. Airplanes in flight will be OK1 unless there's something solid to their immediate east. Planes attempting to land or take off at the moment the Earth stopped will be in trouble.


ETA:
1 Finding a clear, non-rubble-strewn runway to land on after the winds die could be problematical.
Whenever visually representing the universe, it's important to include a picture of Saturn!
-- Tom the Dancing Bug

peregrine_crow
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:20 am UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby peregrine_crow » Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:58 am UTC

dtilque wrote:Airplanes in flight will be OK1 unless there's something solid to their immediate east.


I somehow doubt this. Sure, if Airplanes don't count as terrestrial objects (is that all objects on earth, or all objects made on earth?) and thus keep moving alongside the now supersonic winds, they don't get hit by the supersonic winds, but they probably won't exactly be fine. Planes aren't build for hurricane level turbulence, as the wind near the earth starts to slow down the atmosphere stops being all nice and homogenic and starts being all hellish and plane-tearing-appart-ish.

I'm not sure how fast this process will go, but in the mean time the plane is still moving at supersonic speeds relative to the ground, so even if it could find a clean depleted uranium runway it still wouldn't be safe to land (The plane can't slow down without slowing down relative to the insane wind speed and I'm assuming planes can't land above a certain speed).
Ignorance killed the cat, curiosity was framed.

dtilque
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:53 am UTC
Location: Nogero

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby dtilque » Tue Oct 07, 2014 1:04 pm UTC

The winds are only going to be insanely fast for a few minutes after the Earth stops. Friction with the Earth will slow them down fairly quickly. Planes merely need to wait out all this; maybe a half hour or so will do. Yes, it will be a turbulent time while the atmosphere slows, but should not be fatal to an aircraft. Slowing down from their speed will be no problem: just stop accelerating and friction will do it. Note that their inital supersonic speed is relative to the ground and not to the air, so even if they're not made to fly supersonic, that won't be a problem.

As far a runways, they shouldn't be damaged at all unless something really heavy happens to land on them. But note that they are built to withstand jumbo jets landing on them, so it would have to be very very heavy. The only real problem planes will have is that all the runways and runway-substitutes (highways) will be strewn with lots of debris and there won't be many people around to clear them off.

ETA: I'm mostly thinking of airliners, which usually cruise at 30 to 40 thousand feet, sometimes higher. At that altitude, I expect the turbulence due to the slowing will not be as extreme as near the ground. The slowing of the atmosphere will propagate upward from the ground so the lower the altitude, the more turbulence there will be. Planes at low altitudes may not survive, even if there's no solid objects due east of them.
Whenever visually representing the universe, it's important to include a picture of Saturn!
-- Tom the Dancing Bug

Moder_20
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:54 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby Moder_20 » Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:58 pm UTC

@UP wow really? damn incredible thing, ye but its nature... its wild earth.

matrix29bear
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:07 am UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby matrix29bear » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:37 am UTC

Not to be too critical, but a Global Windstorm wouldn't happen at least not in the sense that was described in the What If.
Simply put, if the Earth stopped turning (which would require that kinetic energy to be displaced somewhere into something), but the air remained in motion exactly equal relative to the Earth's previous velocity it would dump most of that energy out as supersonic booms along the mountain ranges then convert that energy into a few extra degrees heat. The net kinetic power imbalance and thermal displacement would create instant snowfall and rain downpours and then the wind would be subject to purely thermal stirring reactions according to the solar exposure.

Randall is correct that the bigger problem would be the lack of thermal stirring in regards to a non-rotating Earth.
But that also would not last very long either.
Take a front bicycle tire. Remove it from the bicycle. Now hold level it at arm's length so that the circle of the tire is parallel to the ground.
Now spin yourself, holding the tire, in a circle. Ta-da, the tire spins without you starting it spinning.
Stop the tire, now stand in one location and move the tire in small circles parallel to the Earth. Ta-da, the tire starts spinning again.
This will occur even in the absence of air.
Essentially, this is the basic core physics of why the Earth spins. So long as the Earth orbits the sun, the Earth will spin.

User avatar
gmalivuk
GNU Terry Pratchett
Posts: 25553
Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:02 pm UTC
Location: Here and There
Contact:

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:25 pm UTC

Realistically a stopped Earth would become tidally locked with the moon quite independent of any motion around the sun.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
---
If this post has math that doesn't work for you, use TeX the World for Firefox or Chrome

(he/him/his)

erbinator
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:43 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby erbinator » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:54 pm UTC

Please excuse my ignorance in these matters but if the earth stopped spinning would this not also have an impact on the earths gravitational force?

Who
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:53 am UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby Who » Mon Dec 29, 2014 10:36 am UTC

erbinator wrote:Please excuse my ignorance in these matters but if the earth stopped spinning would this not also have an impact on the earths gravitational force?

It would, but that would be rather low.
The centrifgual force produced by the rotation of the earth at its equator decreases the apparent gravity by .3%. So if you lived at the equator and the earth stopped spinning, you'd notice that things would way .3% more. On the other hand, if you went from the equator to the poles (With or without the earth ceasing to spin) you would notice that things would weigh .5% more. (Centrifugal force and equatorial bulge combined)

User avatar
PinkShinyRose
Posts: 818
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:54 pm UTC
Location: the Netherlands

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:37 pm UTC

Who wrote:
erbinator wrote:Please excuse my ignorance in these matters but if the earth stopped spinning would this not also have an impact on the earths gravitational force?

It would, but that would be rather low.
The centrifgual force produced by the rotation of the earth at its equator decreases the apparent gravity by .3%. So if you lived at the equator and the earth stopped spinning, you'd notice that things would way .3% more. On the other hand, if you went from the equator to the poles (With or without the earth ceasing to spin) you would notice that things would weigh .5% more. (Centrifugal force and equatorial bulge combined)

Wouldn't the bulge disappear if the spinning disappears?

User avatar
Neil_Boekend
Posts: 3215
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:35 am UTC
Location: Yes.

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:31 pm UTC

Slowly, yes. However, since the earth hasn't regained it's shape since the glaciers pressed down the poles in the last ice age I can't imagine it would go fast.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

Tollgate
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:00 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby Tollgate » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:14 pm UTC

I was lucky enough to be gifted with the "What If" book for Father's Day - and the first item I read was this one.

One thought I had was prompted by the suggestion that folks in bunkers or subways might be better off than others - and got to thinking - wouldn't supersonic winds tend to evacuate the air from a semi-open facility like a subway? Or conversely - depending on the surface/subsurface direction of entry points might wind-channel high speed winds thru the tunnels - coupled with suction from the wind on leeward facing entries? Either way it would be an interesting environment.

backspaces
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:29 pm UTC

Re: What-if Mashable: "Global Windstorm"

Postby backspaces » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:33 pm UTC

So what about the water? Wouldn't it also "keep going" like the air? And wouldn't the air just peel off the earth?


Return to “What If?”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests