If you're planning a trip to Mordor, you'd be well-advised to check the weather in West Texas. The two areas have similar climates, say scientists in Britain who have determined the likely climate across JRR Tolkien's Middle Earth, releasing their results in Elvish and Dwarvish, along with English. The comparison may not be flattering to Texans: Tolkien calls Mordor "a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash, and dust." In the Shire and Rivendell, on the other hand, residents might expect weather like England's or Belarus', rainy and cool.
The inland Brown Lands would be drier because the Misty Mountains would block the rain, Scientific American reports via Climate Wire. Tolkien's detailed geographical accounts of the imaginary world made the study possible. "Because climate models are based on fundamental scientific processes," they're "easily adapted to simulate any planet, real or imagined, so long as the underlying continental positions and heights and ocean depths are known," says a professor at the University of Bristol. For those wondering how on earth this study got funding, fear not: It wasn't funded at all, and the researchers did it during their spare time. (Read more climate change stories.)