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Seaflooding – by Tomas Pueyo

Seaflooding – by Tomas Pueyo

2023-05-15 23:40:41

Sea ranges may rise by one to 2 meters by the tip of the century.
What if I instructed you there was a strategy to mitigate that, whereas creating new habitats and extra life, rising the financial system, and earning profits alongside the way in which?

Let’s name it seaflooding.

In The Zanclean Megaflood article, we noticed how the Mediterranean was a collection of picayune

salty lakes till the basin was flooded from the Atlantic.

After studying about this, an architect dreamed up the idea of Atlantropa within the early twentieth century: damming the Strait of Gibraltar

to create huge quantities of hydroelectricity, whereas decreasing the scale of the Med to switch some sea floor with land floor.

Atlantropa, a German architect’s dream for infinite vitality. Source.

The mission by no means materialized as a result of:

  1. It was extraordinarily costly

  2. It might take eternally

  3. Nuclear vitality promised an never-ending supply of vitality, which meant the hydro energy didn’t appear definitely worth the trouble

  4. How do you coordinate efforts among the many many nations that border the ocean?

At this time, we should always in all probability add different causes. 

One is that we now know that the underside of the Mediterranean was a hellhole when it was dry

: air stress was a lot increased as a result of the bottom was to this point under sea degree, and the temperature would have been a lot increased than it’s at this time. So the brand new lands wouldn’t essentially be very fertile. The truth is, they might in all probability be extra desertic. 

On the similar time, there can be much less moisture obtainable on at this time’s uncovered land, making the mediterranean shores even drier than they’re now.

Extra importantly, geoengineering the world at this scale sounds preposterous to us now. We love the Mediterranean simply the way in which it’s. We love the wildlife that thrives round it, the financial alternatives, the solar, the vacations, the approach to life… the life.

Reverting again to a salt desert sounds silly.
We’re very completely happy that the Mediterranean flooded.
Ought to we create extra Mediterraneans then?

This image is identical as within the Messinian Salinity Disaster.
Think about a low-lying desertic land.

It used to carry a sea as a result of it was so low. However in the future, its entry to the ocean closed off. And since it was so sizzling

and obtained so little water from rains and rivers, it dried up, abandoning a wasteland of sand and salts.

The place life used to thrive, now there’s simply loss of life and desolation.

Now think about that, in the future, we open a path to the ocean. After just a few weeks, a lake would begin to type.

Out of the blue, a miracle: rain within the desert.

As a result of with all that warmth, a few of the new water evaporates, rises, cools, and drops as rain.
After which one other miracle: a desert bloom.

Thousands and thousands of dormant crops, craving for a drop of water, immediately awaken. The desert turns into vibrant with life once more.

Bugs develop to feed on the crops.
Birds come to feed on the bugs.

Because the water of the lake rises, it turns pink.

That’s as a result of the algae, micro organism, and archaea that may survive in these circumstances are pink and orange to guard in opposition to the Solar. Shrimps seem to eat these animals. This, in flip, attracts the flamingos, who feast on all these animals—and get their pink coloration from it.

Because the water retains pouring in, quickly there’s a real lake.

Nevertheless it’s nonetheless too salty for all times. So we construct salt evaporation ponds to extract the salt (and promote it at a revenue).

Vegetation seem. Bugs seem. Fish seem. The birds who eat the fish seem. Quickly, you will have a thriving ecosystem.

This ecosystem captures carbon: 

The oases would take in CO2 through phytoplankton progress —phytoplankton produce biomass quicker than agriculture, decreasing the mandatory floor space by virtually 4x.Source.

And other people comply with, attracted by these new seashores, these new animals, these new alternatives.

Now our lake is just not a lake anymore. It’s a sea. It’s so large that waves type. You possibly can’t see the opposite shore anymore.

Quickly, infrastructure follows, to serve these communities. The drop in transportation prices makes the area extra economically engaging, extra viable.

After which one other miracle begins taking place: rains turn into an increasing number of frequent. They fall across the sea and past, carried by the winds. Throughout the area, crops take root, settling the soil and stopping erosion. 

Just like the Mediterranean previously, a brand new thriving sea has emerged to switch a burned wasteland.

The place can we do that? Seems there are lots of locations. And on the prime of the listing is one you may already know.

The traditional dry Mediterranean Sea of the previous and the Useless Sea of at this time are comparable:

  • They each have a lot salt and so little water that salt accumulates on the backside and nothing

    can survive there.

  • They’re each far under sea degree and separated from the ocean by a land barrier. That is why they’re so salty: water flows to them—after which evaporates.

  • They’re very dry and sizzling locations, which makes them deserts.

  • Since life can’t thrive within the water both, it’s lifeless too.

Briefly, these are lifeless hellholes.

This isn’t a coincidence: Each the Mediterranean and the Useless Sea are on fault strains!

The border between Jordan and Israel is the low-lying Useless Sea Transform.

Fault strains like these of the Med and Useless Sea create depressions that continuously go under sea degree. If that despair has entry to the ocean, it is going to finally flood. If it doesn’t, it’d turn into a salty inland sea if it’s moist, or a desert if it’s sizzling and dry.

We’re all completely happy the Mediterranean was shut sufficient to the ocean to get flooded. Shouldn’t we wish to see the Useless Sea flooded too?

It’s not just like the Useless Sea exists in a fragile environmental steadiness with a blossoming ecosystem and thriving communities. It’s a desert. Folks earn cash from mining the salt, there’s a tiny little bit of tourism, and that’s it. And the water degree retains taking place. Since 1930, the floor of the ocean has shrunk by a 3rd. The ocean degree is diminishing every year by one meter, because the water that used to circulation into the ocean is diverted for agriculture.

So why not play a Zanclean and flood it with water from the ocean? It might be simple:

  • Construct a pipeline from the Mediterranean or the Pink Sea to deliver the water. We all know the way to construct pipelines.

  • As a result of it’s under sea degree, we may generate electrical energy from the circulation of the ocean water.

  • We’d as nicely take a few of that water and switch it into recent water for irrigation.

  • The electrical energy to desalinate the water can come from the dam and, if wanted, from further photo voltaic vitality, which is reasonable right here as a result of there’s quite a lot of solar and never quite a lot of rain.

  • If we wish to scale back the quantity of salt, we are able to both increase the salt ponds or pump brackish water again into the ocean.

All of this might create a a lot greater sea the place algae may develop, fish may feed on the algae, and birds may feed on the fish. Vegetation would develop on the shoreline with the added moisture, and extra animals would come… It might remodel a desert into a brand new Mediterranean.

This, after all, wouldn’t simply create a thriving organic surroundings. It might create wonderful financial alternatives for extra agriculture and extra tourism. These would justify extra infrastructure, which might additional enhance the wealth of the realm.

And this space sorely wants it, as a result of it’s between Israel, Jordan, and Palestine’s West Financial institution

. An space stuffed with water, financial alternatives, and wildlife can be a superb cause to cooperate.

I hope this makes full sense to you, however should you suppose governments would by no means go for it… You must have extra hope! Let me current to you the Red Sea – Dead Sea Water Conveyance mission.

That is what the Jordanian authorities had in mind:

It needed to pump water from the Pink Sea by a pipeline. This might generate electrical energy, which might be used to desalinate a few of the water into recent ingesting water for the Jordanian inhabitants


Why am I speaking in previous tense? As a result of Jordan determined to shelve the project. Why? Apparently, it’s as a result of they wanted the cooperation of Israel, which wasn’t forthcoming. 

And why may that be? Perhaps it has to do with the truth that Israel has one other mission in thoughts, the Med – Dead Canal! The thought is identical, however pumping water from the Mediterranean to the Useless Sea, as an alternative of from the Pink Sea.

This might have the additional advantage that it will probably be cheaper, as the space to the Mediterranean is shorter.

Why wasn’t the Med-Useless mission constructed? It’s not clear to me, however given UN opinions against it and the truth that Jordan didn’t wish to rely on Israel much more than it does at this time, I assume no Israeli chief thought it was definitely worth the trouble to combat the worldwide neighborhood. It’s arduous to maneuver the established order on worldwide borders–particularly when the worldwide border is as delicate as this one is.

Are there different good locations for flooding? Deep depressions which might be so sizzling there’s nothing there, and lie inside a rustic’s borders completely for a simple choice on their flooding? 

The Qattara Melancholy is 60 to 150m under sea degree.

Word how each the Qattara and Useless Sea Depressions are in darkish blue on this topographic map. This implies they’re under sea degree.

That is within the Sahara desert. The pictures of desolate desert that you just noticed earlier on are from right here. Right here’s one other one to refresh your reminiscence.

This concept has so many positives that I get excited simply excited about them:

As a result of it’s in a despair, water concentrates there earlier than evaporating. This implies it’s not simply sand, it’s salty sand. Deader than lifeless.

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However water additionally brings sediments with it, so the land across the sea could possibly be very fertile.

As a result of it’s nearer to the equator than both the Mediterranean or the Useless Sea, it’s a lot hotter

, so it’s one of many driest locations on Earth with the least quantity of life.

It’s tremendous near the Mediterranean, so it will not be that onerous to deliver water from there into the despair.

As a result of the despair is under sea degree, it will generate electrical energy, which could possibly be used to desalinate a few of the sea water into freshwater.

This area would maintain 1,000 km3 of water, which would cut back worldwide ocean ranges by 3mm

. Plus, its fixed evaporation would additional gradual the rise of ocean ranges by up to 6%.

This might scale back international warming, as a result of the pipeline bringing water from the Mediterranean would go underground, which is cooler than the nice and cozy Mediterranean water. The underground would heat up

, capturing a few of the atmospheric warmth.

Mediterranean warmth sequestration. Source. A few of the concepts in regards to the Qattara Area part come from this supply, and in addition the concept to storytell the start of the article. Thanks Alex Westerlund!

And with such an enormous new sea in a sizzling desert, quite a lot of its water would evaporate. That is good, as a result of it will enhance the quantity of water being pumped in—producing extra electrical energy—and it will enhance the native moisture, which may enhance native rainfall.

The rise in native moisture may make it simpler for crops to take maintain and develop, which would cut back native erosion.

And I haven’t even began with the financial advantages: elevated agriculture, tourism, and business corresponding to salt extraction. This might not simply make Egypt richer. Agriculture is very related to Egypt politically as a result of it imports quite a lot of meals, which strains its commerce steadiness.

What the ocean may seem like, and what a inexperienced space round it may seem like. The ocean as depicted is the precise dimension that it will be, however I made up the inexperienced area round it, only for illustration.


  • It’s lifeless at this time as a result of it’s too salty, sizzling, and dry

  • It might be cheaper than most different locations to deliver seawater right here

  • It might present electrical energy, which could possibly be used for the remainder

    of Egypt just like the Aswan dam, or to generate freshwater domestically

  • It will probably decrease ocean ranges

  • It will probably decrease the atmospheric temperature

  • It will probably enhance moisture within the Sahara desert

  • It will probably scale back its erosion

  • It might enhance financial exercise, together with agriculture, tourism, and salt extraction

  • And naturally, since all of that is inside Egypt’s borders, no want for worldwide talks

All of this makes it an ideal candidate for flooding.

What are the potential drawbacks? After studying this paper on the topic, I feel they’re tiny. One is the lack of habitats. However the Sahara is large, so animals can transfer or be moved elsewhere. And there’s not quite a lot of them in any case. This might create extra life

. The paper can be involved about migratory birds, however they might adapt to new circumstances. And my guess is a brand new sea is more likely to be a constructive for them, with extra meals and areas for relaxation.

The opposite threat

is a leakage of saltwater into the underground freshwater aquifers. Not as a lot underneath the Qattara Sea—it’s already salty—but when the pipelines rupture. However in my humble opinion, that area is small, it’s near the ocean, and it doesn’t seem like the water would journey to different areas

From all of this, it feels like this might be a terrific funding. If I have been within the Egyptian authorities, I’d positively discover this.

In Uncharted Territories, we don’t simply wish to inform ourselves in regards to the world. We wish to nudge it in the suitable course. Are you aware anyone who could possibly be on this? In sharing it with their neighborhood? Who may have an affect in making such a mission occur? Share it with them!


We’ve mentioned two locations the place seaflooding would appear to be an amazing concept: the Useless Sea and the Qattara Melancholy. However there are lots of extra!

You possibly can see them right here on a map:

Most of them are literally within the Sahara, which sorely wants water. However there are others in Ethiopia, Australia, Argentina, and the US. After which there’s the Caspian Sea south of Russia, which is large, shrinking, and in addition under sea degree.

Most of those locations are historical salt lakes that dried up and are salty, devoid of a lot life or financial exercise, and shut sufficient to a sea that we may fill them up. 

Ought to we do that then? Perhaps it’s a bit scary as a result of we’ve by no means performed it earlier than?

Really, we’ve got! Now we have a superb sense of what would occur. Should you’re , learn this week’s premium article! I’ll additionally discover what we’ve performed previously with comparable depressions, what plans exist for every of those locations, and what we are able to count on from them sooner or later.

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