WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU TURN THE WORLD INSIDE OUT?

This map may be mildly amusing to normal people, and it’s kind of fun, but…to the geoscientist, it’s a nightmare!

In this image, the topography of the earth has apparently been reversed. Geography is re-defined so that the continents are oceans, the oceans are continents, and various ranges of mountains that should be submerged are emerged.

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Map of the WORLD inside out where Geography is re-defined so that the continents are oceans, the oceans are continents, and various ranges of mountains that should be submerged are emerged. Image: Deviant Art 

So what about the CLIMATE of the WORLD?

How would the climate of the earth be changed if instead of 70% of the globe being a heat sink, only 30% was water? What would currents in these mini-oceans be like: could there be a mini-Gulf stream in the Greenland Ocean that could warm the lands around it? Without El Nino or La Nina, would we be worse off or better off – fish, after all, should do well with the El Nino not reducing upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich waters, and the birds that eat them, and the bird poop that creates fertilizers for the natural world as well as agriculture. The climate would be more “stable” – but does an even, non-fluctuating climate mean better?

So what about PLATE TECHTONICS?

The world reversed looks like a planet approaching tectonic extinction. Fewer oceanic areas means less oceanic lithosphere forming, meaning fewer functioning hot spots, meaning less heat coming from the mantle and core of the earth, meaning the earth is cooling, meaning that the entire planetary system might be shutting down, meaning we’ll lose our magnetic field and be ionized to death by deadly radiation from space…

What happens when this happens?

Well, it did happen to a very fine planet that apparently once had water and an atmosphere: Mars.

Conclusion…

So, what looks like just a rather funny “see what the world would look like if reversed” image is nothing I want to think about at 3AM. It does, however, provide a really great starting point for a discussion on the basic concepts of planetary geology and climatology. What would you expect to happen in such a reversal?

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