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  • Imagine the Mediterranean Sea is disappearing.

  • Old shipwrecks are rearing their ugly heads

  • as the water drains around them.

  • And Mediterranean cruises

  • are becoming increasingly

  • disappointing.

  • But for once,

  • this isn't the result of climate change.

  • We're doing it on purpose!

  • If we blocked off the Mediterranean's

  • main water source from the Atlantic Ocean,

  • we'd be essentially creating a new desert

  • that connects Europe with Africa.

  • This new supercontinent would

  • not only make international trade easier,

  • but it could also provide some

  • much-needed renewable energy resources.

  • If this whole idea sounds a little familiar,

  • it's because it was proposed back in the 1920s

  • by a German architect named Hermanrgel.

  • As intriguing asrgel's idea was,

  • the project never really took off because,

  • for one thing, there wasn't enough concrete in the world

  • to build a dam large enough to block off the Mediterranean.

  • And on top of that, Germany was crippled by losing the First World War.

  • But times have changed, and here we are, desperate for renewable energy solutions.

  • So why not give this idea another shot?

  • What could possibly go wrong?

  • Draining the Mediterranean would be no small feat.

  • It has a surface area of approximately 2.5 million km2 (965,222 mi2),

  • and an average depth of 1,500 m (4,921 ft).

  • We wouldn't drain this body of water in the same way that you would drain a bathtub.

  • Instead, we would have to focus on blocking off

  • its intake of the water coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.

  • You see, the water in the Mediterranean is evaporative,

  • meaning that more water evaporates from it than flows in from rivers and streams.

  • The water that the Mediterranean Sea needs mainly comes from the Atlantic Ocean,

  • through the Strait of Gibraltar.

  • So if we can cut off that flow we can, in theory, drain the Sea over time.

  • Blocking the water flowing in from the Atlantic

  • would cause the Mediterranean Sea to decrease by 1.65 m (5.4 ft) each year.

  • But we wouldn't want to drain the entire thing dry.

  • Instead, we could split the Sea into a couple of different water levels,

  • with the middle one being completely dry land.

  • This would allow us to install a hydroelectric dam at the Strait of Gibraltar

  • to produce some much-needed renewable energy for Europe and Africa.

  • Renewable energy is always nice, but would it be worth it in this case?

  • Sure, we'd have a whole new stretch of land to develop between Europe and Africa,

  • but most people wouldn't want to move there.

  • It would be a very hot desert,

  • probably the hottest region on Earth because it would be so far below sea-level.

  • At its deepest points,

  • with canyons reaching around 5,000 m (16,404 ft) below sea level,

  • temperatures could become close to 80°C (176°F).

  • To put that in perspective,

  • the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 54°C (129°F).

  • And because the water from the Mediterranean Sea is so salty,

  • the uncovered land would just be salt flats and useless for agriculture.

  • Soon, the surrounding land would become desert as well.

  • Southern Europe and Turkey would start to dry up, and as a result,

  • rainfall would decline,

  • which could significantly impact agriculture in Europe.

  • Any animals that lived near the Mediterranean would have to choose between

  • migrating away from the coast or dying

  • because the remaining water would be too salty and shallow.

  • And the negative effects wouldn't just be limited to our new supercontinent.

  • All the water from the drained sea would be redistributed throughout the world's oceans,

  • causing a 10 m (32 ft) rise in sea levels.

  • Cities like New Orleans, Sacramento, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Shanghai

  • would all be completely underwater.

  • So unless we want to be responsible for that,

  • we're probably best leaving the Mediterranean as it is.

  • If we really want to figure out a way to connect our continents,

  • there's got to be a better way to do it.

  • But that's a story for another WHAT IF.

Imagine the Mediterranean Sea is disappearing.

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B1 US mediterranean sea water renewable energy renewable atlantic ocean

What If We Drained the Mediterranean?

  • 4 1
    ka ka posted on 2020/04/08
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