Alam desert sea - will it exist or get blown over?

Posted by zhenkang on 22 December 2018 in English (English).

Ok, so there is this guy who told me that the Alam desert sea that borders between Antigo (not the Pretanic Faction State) and this nation of UL137 (meant to be an Arabic homeland), is unrealistic, because this map is actually based on currents. Based on our planet Earth climate, the desert should not be there, because it is at around the 50 N latitude instead of within the 15 to 40 N latitude where deserts usually are (because of something called pressure and what nots, but my geography lessons never covered these so…)

So what am I (and bhj867) going to do with the desert? Should it become plains? Or a large lake/sea? Should the desert remain as it is or shall I turn it to other biomes? (bye bye military training* in deserts lol).

By the way, also no offence to the guy who made that terrain map. Also hope that these plans will not affect any planning of UL137.

*nukes testing

Location: Zhangeldin District, Kostanay Region, Kazakhstan

Comment from Luciano on 22 December 2018 at 14:28

Speaking only for my self (and IANACS “I am not a climate scientist), I have always felt that isleño’s proposed climate map (here: ) was more realistic. According to this map, there would be no desert in the Mazanian (UL137) area you’re asking about. On the other hand, the restriction on latitude with respect to deserts is ridiculous. The “Canadian Desert” (which I just drove through a few weeks ago) in Central British Columbia lies well north of 50 north; the Patagonian desert (where I traveled some decades ago) in Southern Argentina extends to 50 south. And of course, most truly Arctic (and Antarctic) lands are deserts - it’s just that when precipitation DOES fall, it lies around in frozen form. Antarctica has some of the lowest precipitation rates on the planet.

Comment from Alessa on 22 December 2018 at 16:44

My apologies now for a very lengthy reply. I’ll have a recap at the end for those that only wish to gloss.

I agree with Luciano here. Isleño’s map may not be perfect, but it is far superior in many subtle ways. And yes, “desert” doesn’t just mean sand and gravel, so it can extend far north/south of 50°. One of my biggest disagreements would be the so-called monsoonal dashed lines. The effect of each one will vary greatly depending on other factors, but that’s another story. There is one big catch to all this climate talk: terrain. We don’t have a global terrain, so having places like the Antigo–UL137 be desert is complete conjecture. Is it likely under most circumstances? Probably not. I too think that the land in question is likely to be a semi-arid prairie. In fact, the terrain of western Pretany and of the Castellàn/Alora–UL137 border will have a more significant impact than you might think. The bigger and wider those mountain ranges, along with a certain orientation to impact moisture flow, the dryer things will be to the east will be. But, does Pretany want to be semi-arid instead of as wet as Berlin, Vienna, or Moscow (per Isleño’s map)? Based solely on what is mapped and included in the wiki right now (not trying to speak for anyone), here are a two scenarios to consider:

  1. High mountains along the Castellàn–UL137 border like the Zagros Mountains and then rocky terrain like central Iran or a more arid West Virginia further into UL137 need to be combined with another range, probably not as big as the Alborz but similar somewhere in northern UL137. This prevents moisture from climbing the latitudes and being sucked into storms that move from west-to-east across Pretany. You may get a scrub-and-rock desert, but Pretany does not have huge mountains along its western border under this scenario, as that would make it a cold-desert basin. Obviously, this dramatically changes a lot of countries so it’s a non-starter. For the record, the southwestern third of Pretany becomes useless southern Nevada-style desert under this scenario if mountains are along the western border. Equally bad.
  2. The existing high mountains along the western border of Pretany combined with a Castellàn–UL137 mountain border, and Antigo is now a semi-arid prairie. Pretany is still a little drier than Berlin or Moscow (per Isleño’s map), and countries as far east as the Egalian Lake will be a smidgen drier, but the ramifications are not as severe. Southwest Pretany would still be a semi-arid prairie still able to be a grainbelt. You don’t get the full desert effect you’d want at all in Antigo, but this is what is already on the map and assumed. Under this scenario, prairie or savanna are far more likely. To make this nearly like Isleño’s map would be to ask Pretany to tweak the existing mountains along the western border of Pretany round Carasco. If they were reduced from Alpine barriers to difficult terrain (e.g. West Virginia), the west-east moisture flow of the jet stream doesn’t have another major obstacle. Pretany is as wet as desired. Antigo still is grasslands and savanna.

Obviously the second option, being what we have, is best right now. But, it doesn’t get what you want. There is another factor: human intervention. Let’s say that the natural climate of Antigo and far northern UL137 is a semi-arid grassland. Okay, great. But, humans do stupid things over the centuries: they over-irrigate and drain precious water (Aral Sea), they over graze and reduce native vegetation (Maghreb), and they fight so often over the same territory that it becomes uncultivated and partially left in a damaged state (Afghanistan). With all this happening for a millennium, you will get major desertification in the area you want. It requires it to be natively a semi-arid grassland in the first place. Parts of the central US and Canada are beginning to experience this as irrigation and aquifer sources start to dry up. Even with our technology, we cannot fully stop it. So, if you want desert, embrace the “it’s not really a desert” approach and then apply centuries of desertification. The result will be a rocky/scruby cold desert in some patches. Nomads wander aimlessly through the wilds.

Nutshell: No, it’s not naturally going to be a desert, but the climate would be conducive to human desertification of an area.

Comment from zhenkang on 23 December 2018 at 00:02

@Luciano yeah I forgoe to mention that deserts can be above the 70 as well. I should tell Alsatian about this.

Ok, so southern Antigo will lack precitpitation. I will support the 2nd option by Alessa, since at southwestern Antigo it is already a savanaah of sorts (just tagged incorrectly). Desertification is possible as well; in my proposed history for Antigo, during ita kingdom reign there were large irrigation projects, which kinda drain the plains of Alam.

So if I were to pick the 2nd option and desertifcation, will the desert be smaller or larger than it is?

Comment from Leowezy on 23 December 2018 at 13:21

As a side note, the “human-caused desertification” explained by Alessa is exactly the type of thing I use to justify the barren grasslands in the western half of Kojo; no geographic trick would be able to explain them, especially at their relatively small size.

Comment from NKgov on 23 December 2018 at 14:26

My thoughts: Make it a wasteland. Put a smelting industry here and there, and voilà!

Comment from Rustem Pasha on 23 December 2018 at 15:54

Desertification usually exists on limited land area. For example Błędów Desert (which is in general interesting case for you because it lies exacly where Alam does). It’s maximal extent was like 150 km^2, Alam is about ten times bigger. Also Błędów Desert lies in specific location with big agglomeration just one step away. Alam doesn’t have one in the neighborhood but maybe there are many mines?

Comment from zhenkang on 24 December 2018 at 09:07

Hmm then I think it is best if the Alam desert is smaller: I will also reduce its cover covering UL137, and add more savanaahs. The desert will cover a part of Alam but not at the other duchies nearby. Maybe additionally there will be other smaller desert patches in those other duchies.

Anyway, a large plain is enough for us to luanch nukes. Just make sure it doesnt strike UL137.

Comment from zhenkang on 24 December 2018 at 09:10

Meanwhile let’s mine for more uranium, graphite and silicon.

Comment from FictiveJ on 24 December 2018 at 09:58

Right, I have a land claim in the Alam Desert, so I should weigh in on this.

I feel as if maybe a complete desert of sand would be unrealistic. Instead, we have something like the Gobi Desert, with some sand dunes but mostly expanses of rock, where there is little vegetation. Most precipitation would, indeed, be snow due to locating at over 50 degrees North.

Also like the Gobi Desert, this is formed by the rain shadow from the high mountains of the Rickorack Plateau, as a result Pretany gets rain systems whereas large parts of the PFS are very arid (from semi-arid in the north to true desert in the south).

And, of course, I’m sure Antigoan demands for water have accelerated the process.

Comment from bhj867 on 24 December 2018 at 15:53

This is a very interesting concept. I am ok with the desert there being man made. I always assumed the mountainous region west of antigo made southern Pretany and Mazan rather arid.

Comment from bhj867 on 24 December 2018 at 15:54

Most of Pretany is flat and dry farmland like Kansas or Eastern Colorado, so I assume that’s ok.

Comment from zhenkang on 24 December 2018 at 16:53

@FictiveJ the Alam desert will be rather fragmented into parts, and smaller than what it is. Whatever it is, southern Antigo is kinda dry, and its massive irrigation projects in the past (not just talking about the 20th century) may have caused desertification. Just expect it to be barren, no crops grown, no farms, just factories etc.

It will be interesting how Alam will eventually develop.

Comment from zhenkang on 24 December 2018 at 16:53

And minus the silicon-not enough sand.

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