BBC Complaint No 3

By Paul Homewood


Talking of complaints to the BBC, I have just submitted this one regarding the Californian “megadrought”:


Re: BBC News Online Article: “Then and now: A ‘megadrought’ in California”

Dear Sirs

I wish to complain about the above article on the grounds of inaccuracy.

The report looks at recent examples of extreme weather in California, viz droughts and excess rain, and claims they reveal:

some of the ways that planet Earth has been changing against the backdrop of a warming world

In particular, the article examines:

  1. The 2014 drought, labelled a “megadrought”.

  2. The heavy winter rains of 2016/17

  3. The current dry winter.

It is suggested that the 2014 drought was in large part due to climate change, a megadrought which could last for decades.

The report also states:

Climate change is not just about a warmer world, it also means that the planet will see more extreme environmental conditions and weather. So, for example, episodes of flooding will increase, as well as episodes of droughts.

Lake Oroville was a perfect illustration of how these extremes can threaten our existing infrastructure.

However, the actual precipitation data proves that the 2014 drought was far from being unprecedented. Nor is there any long term trend to a drier climate.

It is also evident that California’s climate has always swung wildly from wet to dry, and back again. There is nothing whatsoever unusual about the switch from drought to floods between 2014 and 2017, as the official NOAA data shows (Fig 1):


Figure 1

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate at a Glance | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (


As for the winter of 2016/17, again that winter’s rainfall was not unprecedented, nor was February 2017. Again there is virtually no trend in winter rainfall



Figure 2

Climate at a Glance | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (




Finally, as Figure 2 also shows that this current winter has not been unusually dry, ranking only 19th driest since 1895.

I would repeat, these are the official rainfall data from NOAA.

In fact, California’s climate for the last 1000 years has regularly experienced droughts much more severe than modern ones:



Figure 3

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


In short, the article contention that climate change is making weather more extreme in California is not supported by the actual data, and the claim is grossly misleading.

Yours faithfully

Paul Homewood



This adds to my two other complaints in the last few weeks:

1) Harrabin’s active campaigning against the Cumbria coal mine.

2) Claims of “record number of storms and wildfires” in the US


March 16, 2021 at 12:24PM

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