Ever wondered when this fracking winter everyone is talking about is coming?!
Well, maesters have probably tried to answer such a crucial question, but it seems that their knowledge of the universe (not to mention their computer power) is widely inadequate to tackle the problem. So the people of Westeros are condemned to suffer the erratic season pattern that characterizes the world invented by George R. R. Martin in A Game of Thrones.
A bunch of graduate students at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, has now published a paper in which they explore what could possibly cause summers to last for years and winters for a generation.
Although they do mention that magic could do the trick, their main hypothesis is that of a planet orbiting two stars instead of one. However, other scientists are skeptic. As reported in a news article in Science, another astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena suggests a more “chaotic” system, for example a 3-star system, or a moon orbiting a gas giant.
In their paper deposited in arXiv, Kostov et al. conclude that, unfortunately, their “attempts to provide the good folks of Westeros with a reliable weather forecast are inconclusive”. Nevertheless, they also mention that they will turn their attention to the dragons, their carbon footprint and impact on climate in a subsequent paper. Looking forward to it.
Kostov V, Allan D, Hartman N, Guzewich S & Rogers J. Winter is coming. 1 April 2013. arXiv:1304.0445 [physics.pop-ph]