If you planted trees in the desert, how would it change the weather pattern?

Asked Apr 02, 2011
To make vegetation, you need a consistent supply of sunlight, water and enough nutrients in the soil to support plant life. Assume you had unlimited assets and could cover the ground with topsoil and supply it with enough water to grow the vegetation over millions of square kilometers of desert. The water would be absorbed up into the plants and then evaporated into the air, forming clouds. The clouds would saturate the air and return the water to the ground as rain. The older vegetation would die and rot into more nutrients and that weather cycle would continue until something changed to interrupt the pattern.

The above is true unless some other phenomenon interfered with the cycle like the example of the Atacama desert. The difference in the weather patterns between a desert and a rain forrest is how efficently the above cycle works. If the water washes off the surface instead of being soaked into the ground it doesn't get distributed to the plant life or if the prevailing winds consistently move the water out of the area, the cycle is broken.

This brings up another interesting question: What happends when overpopulation covers the entire surface of a large area with parking lots, driveways, streets and buildings?
Answered Apr 02, 2011

TIP: If it's not your answer to this question, please click "Leave a Comment" button under the question to communicate with the question owner.