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Back home, the Appalachian Mountains are no wider than 100-300 miles, no longer than 1500 miles and no taller than 6,683 feet above sea level, and the Great Lakes are five separate lakes totaling to an area of 94,250 square miles.

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In this alternate scenario, the Appalachian Mountains are 14,505 feet above sea level, 65 to 300 feet wide and longer than 1500 miles, as presented below:

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Alongside it, the entire Great Lakes Basin has been flooded off, turning the five Great Lakes into one Great Megalake.

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Undoubtedly, a longer, taller Appalachian Mountains and a Great Megalake would turn cities like New York, Trenton and Boston into rainforests along the line of Seattle, but what about the Midwest? Would the changes put on those two major geological features alter the prairies of the central United States in any way? Would they be the key to reducing the danger zone that is Tornado Alley?

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closed as too broad by o.m., Aify, Separatrix, John Dallman, James Aug 3 '16 at 13:25

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Why the downvotes? I'm curious. $\endgroup$ – ApproachingDarknessFish Aug 3 '16 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe it wasn't understandable without previous knowledge of the area he is talking about. $\endgroup$ – Bradman175 Aug 3 '16 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ Questions asking about environmental changes resulting from major changes to a region's geography are consistently closed as being too broad. Climate models are incredibly complex and major changes to a mountain range have massive effects. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Aug 3 '16 at 7:09
  • $\begingroup$ In modifying the Great Lakes like this, you would do well to read about the Western Interior Seaway. $\endgroup$ – Azuaron Aug 3 '16 at 12:18
  • $\begingroup$ Like I said in an answer to a previous question, larger Appalachian mountains would have little effect on the climate of the Midwest. Larger great lakes would reduce the summer temperatures to the north of them, and increase winter temperatures to the south, but would do little to change tornadoes. Tornadoes are driven by thunderstorms. Find a way to get rid of the thunderstorms and you will get rid of your tornadoes. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Aug 3 '16 at 13:23
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Most of the Midwest's weather develops from air masses moving north off of the Gulf of Mexico and south from the Canadian Great Plains. It's unlikely that any change in the Appalachians would have a direct effect on those North/South weather patterns. By extension, it's unlikely that Tornado Alley would see a decrease in severe weather, seeing as most tornadic activity develops from the interaction between cool continental air and moist Gulf air.

That said, the expansion of the great lakes would probably have a significant effect on proximal regions of the Midwest. Large bodies of water tend to have a moderating effect on surrounding climates; in the case of your Great Lake scenario, this effect might be felt as cooler summers and warmer winters. On the other hand, cities like Chicago will likely experience even greater winds from the lake than in reality.

On a wildlife note: The Appalachians may breed more Rocky Mountain type species, and the Great Lake could develop some very interesting aquatic ecology.

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  • $\begingroup$ So what DO I need to push Tornado Alley off northeastern Nebraska (42.4649° N, 96.4131° W)? $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Aug 3 '16 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey The best bet would probably be to plop a mountain range either north or south of Nebraska, with the idea that you could block either the polar air or the gulf air from reaching the alley. Keep in mind that this would have other ramifications, likely including a rain shadow. $\endgroup$ – Alex Clough Aug 3 '16 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ I meant without giving up the Midwest's prairie fertility in the process...or hope of a White Christmas. $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Aug 3 '16 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that there's a good solution to that conundrum. The weather patterns that fuel tornadoes are often the same patterns that induce good rainfall, albeit in a more violent form. The kind of change you're looking for would probably involve a much more subtle tweak than we can reasonably predict. $\endgroup$ – Alex Clough Aug 3 '16 at 15:49

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