Popular Science

Adding clean energy to the Sahara could make it rain (and not just figuratively)

To green or not to green?
sahara

A view of part of the Sahara near Chad.

Think of the Sahara, with its windswept dunes shining in the sunlight. Some people might see barren land, with minimal water or life and scorching temperatures. Others see a potential solution to a looming energy crisis, and one that could potentially make it rain in one of the largest deserts in the world.

In a published this week in researchers found that by building out huge wind and solar farms across the desert, they could not only provide a stunning amount of power to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, but they could simultaneously change the climate—increasing heat, but also increasing precipitation and vegetation in areas that could sorely use the added greenery. They estimate that such a venture could double the rainfall in the region, and increase vegetation cover by about 20 percent.

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