green sahara

anonymous asked:

So if you had a sandy sahara type desert and then suddenly what's essentially a giant oasis gets created in the centre of it with arable land etc but the rest of the desert wasn't changed how would it be affected? Would it? I assume it would because of the introduction of a water source? (I'm my story this feat is done by a very powerful being + magic I know it's u realistic to happen I'm just wondering what consequences there'd be?)

The consequences for the rest of the desert could actually remain quite limited. Even if some of the water from the oasis were to reach other parts of the desert, it would quickly drain through the sand. Unless your oasis manages to raise the entire region’s water table enough to produce streams and soils, it may not have much impact at all.

As an analogue for this situation, I’ve looked at modern agriculture in deserts: Water is pumped in (either from underground aquifers, or rivers, or lakes) and used to irrigate a certain patch of land–and only that land is green.

(Khufrah Oasis, Libya – from NASA Earth Observatory)

For more examples of farming in arid areas:
- Turkey
- Saudi Arabia
- Egypt

In order for the rest of the desert to become less arid, the whole region would have to see a significant increase in rainfall. It is possible for regions to alternate between deserts and vegetated landscapes. For example, several thousand years ago, the Sahara had lakes and ponds–known as one of the “Green Sahara” or “African Humid Period”. (For some of the scientific evidence and further explanation, click here. There’s also been research on how the most recent Green Sahara event affected humans living in Northern Africa.) Changes in Earth’s climate system resulted in very different precipitation patterns–so if that’s something you want to do, it’s possible.

Assuming your magically-produced oasis is a localized phenomenon (as human farms are), the rest of the desert would likely look much the same as before. The oasis would also require some “upkeep”: It will need a continuing input of water if it’s going to remain, rather than be taken over by the desert again. (In the case of human farming, irrigation and groundwater pumping.) Your oasis is probably going to be an isolated, unique location–which would be quite easy to spot from the air.

I hope that helps!
-Mod Terra

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