The Sahara Desert Is Tropical 🐪

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

Morning Berber!

Dude, what are you doing?


The Sahara…what?

Yes, the Sahara Desert.

One of Earth’s most inhospitable places.

But, no! It used to be a rainforest!

17,000 years ago. North Africa. Present day Sahara Desert:

Check out what these humans were painting in their caves.

What the f*ck.

That’s like cattle and giraffes and hippos and stuff.

Things that…ya know…DON’T LIVE IN THE DESERT.

So why were these ancient Saharan humans painting water-loving animals?

Basically 17,000 years ago, Earth’s orbit and tilt was just a litttleeee bit different:

That slightly more-northern tilt resulted in 8% more solar energy hitting the Earth.

This warmed the northern hemisphere.

And when one hemisphere warms, powerful winds move toward it carrying lots of moisture.

Lots of moisture means…


This phenomenon is called the African Monsoon.

And with the north warming, summers became hotter and longer.

The African Monsoon strengthens and continues moving further north over the Sahara Desert:

Vegetation starts to grow.

Which holds more moisture!

Huge bodies of water form like Mega Lake Chad:

A lake bigger than all of the Great Lakes combined.

Humans and animals, flora and fauna flourished!


Earth’s orbit changed again.

And the Sahara became…desert.

Stay Cute,
Henry & Dylan 🌈

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