This was a bit etic, so I reworked it into an entry for climate [http://thefifthworld.com/wiki/climate
] to try to make it more emic.
In the process, I learned a little bit more about the Eocene, the last time earth had the sort of greenhouse gases that we're heading towards. There were palm trees and alligators in Alaska (and not because Alaska was near the equator then; this was only 50 million years ago, so Alaska was still damn close to the North Pole). But it would appear that there was a lot less variation by latitude. The equator may actually have been cooler
than the poles. Not by much, but still. And apparently there was a lot less variation by season -- 3 or 5 degrees Celsius, instead of 12 degrees Celsius like today.
So that discards the idea we were going with of an uninhabitable equator in the Fifth World. It's all tropical, everywhere. Like a giant, homogenized, ecological ruin, that your families need to nurse slowly and surely back into their unique selves.