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It's official: climate of Tolkien's Middle Earth is...like Lincolnshire

Scientists have worked out the weather conditions in The Hobbit and Lord Of The Rings - with the Shire found to be like Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

Experts used a climate model - similar to those used in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - to simulate and investigate conditions in Middle Earth.

Results showed the Shire, where Bilbo Baggins lived before his unexpected adventure described in The Hobbit, was similar to Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

But Mordor, the land of the evil Sauron, was more like Los Angeles and western Texas, the University of Bristol team found.

Professor Richard Pancost, director of the university's Cabot Institute, said: "Because climate models are based on fundamental scientific processes, they are able not only to simulate the climate of the modern Earth, but can also be easily adapted to simulate any planet, real or imagined, so long as the underlying continental positions and heights and ocean depths are known."

The results are presented in a paper, said to be penned by the wizard Radagast the Brown, a Tolkien character the team describe as "probably the first environmental scientist".

In the paper, carried out in the scientists' own time and not funded, Radagast explains that the elves set sail from the Grey Havens as the prevailing winds were favourable for their journey for the West.

He claims the existence of a dry climate east of the Misty Mountains was because the mountains cast a rain-shadow over the region.

Dr Dan Lunt said: "This work is a bit of fun, but it does have a serious side.

"A core part of our work here in Bristol involves using state-of-the-art climate models to simulate and understand the past climate of our Earth.

"By comparing our results to evidence of past climate change, for example from tree rings, ice cores, and ancient fossils of plants and animals, we can validate the climate models, and gain confidence in the accuracy of their predictions of future climate."

The IPCC, which included scientists from the University of Bristol, used models to simulate climates from the last Ice Age to the "Ecocene greenhouse", 50 millions years ago.

These models were then used to simulate the future climate of the planet.

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