Skip to comments.Sahara Desert Greening Due to Climate Change?
Posted on 08/02/2009 6:38:05 PM PDT by reaganaut1
Desertification, drought, and despairthat's what global warming has in store for much of Africa. Or so we hear.
Emerging evidence is painting a very different scenario, one in which rising temperatures could benefit millions of Africans in the driest parts of the continent.
Scientists are now seeing signals that the Sahara desert and surrounding regions are greening due to increasing rainfall.
If sustained, these rains could revitalize drought-ravaged regions, reclaiming them for farming communities.
This desert-shrinking trend is supported by climate models, which predict a return to conditions that turned the Sahara into a lush savanna some 12,000 years ago.
The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).
Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.
The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.
The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, who was not involved in the new study.
"The water-holding capacity of the air is the main driving force," Claussen said.
He added that the greening trend is supported by other satellite data.
Not a Single Scorpion
While satellite images can't distinguish temporary plants like grasses that come and go with the rains, ground surveys suggest recent vegetation change is firmly rooted.
Throughout North Africa, new trees, such as acacias, are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne's Africa Research Unit in Germany.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.nationalgeographic.com ...
global warming ping
I remember reading a while back that increasing level of C2O is causing our planet to become greener. It makes sense, as plants require c2o the way humans require o2.
Don’t know about the Sahara but I’m pretty sure that climate change brought an end to the Ice Age.
Simply amazing!! /sarc
...deserts returning to forests?...sounds good to me...I’m already thinking about an orange grove in my backyard....and I presently live in USDA plant hardiness zone 6 (0 to -5)minimum range.
'The desert crocodiles have adapted to the changing environment in northern Africa; 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, what is now desert was probably lush savannah and grasslands. Today the Sahara is hot and arid, the land sandy, rainfall minimal, and vegetation sparse.
"The extension of range almost certainly reflects climatic changes," said Ross. "We know that even in Roman times, the Sahara was much wetter and greener than it is now. As these places slowly dried up, remnant populations became isolated from the other crocodiles on the continent. How these populations adapted to the changing conditions is most interesting." '
Shocking how there is climate cycles. /S
Why can’t these GW scientists admit that the earth has always changed, and species have always morphed into new species and died off.
Why did I take science in elementary school?
More recently, the fall of the Western Roman empire was precipitated by (among many other things) the Vandals in their sweep through what is now Spain and their capture of northern Africa, significant because that was Rome's granary. Yes, they grew wheat there ("corn" if you're reading Gibbon), enough to support an imperial city. That was not quite 1600 years ago.
Wheat in North Africa. Wineries in Britain. These things are all a part of the historical record, and any climate model that can't account for them is simply inadequate.
I guess the chariots stirred up a lot of global warming back then.
The ice caps can’t melt and submerge Washington DC soon enough!
“The transition may be occurring because hotter air has more capacity to hold moisture, which in turn creates more rain, said Martin Claussen of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany, who was not involved in the new study.”
Let me get this straight. The desert is already hot. But, if it gets hotter it will become greener. OK, got it.
Is this like boiling something until it freezes?
Interesting, that in the “end times”:
Isa 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
I watched the series “Rome”...Cleopatra’s Egypt was the primary grain supplier for all of Rome. Right?
[Let me get this straight. The desert is already hot. But, if it gets hotter it will become greener. OK, got it.
Is this like boiling something until it freezes?]
Deserts are defined by their being dry - not by being hot - there are plenty of cold deserts. If the global atmospheric temperature rises by a small amount, then the moisture carrying capacity of the air will increase by a proportionate amount. More water vapor in the air = more precipitation worldwide. And more precipitation worldwide = shrinking deserts.
The era when Rome flourished was also a period of relative warming. Hmm.
At that time, it was Rome’s primary source of imported wheat.
Other important sources were Sicily and Africa - that would be mostly modern Tunisia.
There are many remains of rich Roman towns in Tunisia and eastern Algeria, that once thrived on agriculture.
The climate can change for the better? Who knew?