By Paul Homewood
You will recall the BBC’s fake news story of how the Victoria Falls was drying up due to climate change:
I submitted this short complaint at the time:
I have now received this response:
In short, they are just saying “Look, there was a drought, so go away!”
You will have noticed that they have not actually answered any of the points I made.
Needless to say, I have now resubmitted my complaint, as follows:
Thank you for your response, but it does not address my complaint.
You state that there was a drought in the region 2019, but this is not in dispute. According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Office in December 2019:
Historical data provided by the Zambezi River Authority, who monitors the water level flows in the region daily, provide evidence that the annual mean water levels of the river have in fact been lower in at least six prior examples of a period spanning 1914 to the current date period.
Whilst Zimbabwe has indeed experienced an extensive drought over the course of this year, the water levels of the Zambezi and indeed the flow levels over Victoria Falls, have remained above those recorded over the drought period of 95 / 96.
In other words, such droughts are common, and the 2019 one was not as bad as that of 1995/96. They are normal meteorological events, and nothing to do with climate change, as you claim.
To recap, your report states:
In our monthly feature, Then and Now, we reveal some of the ways that planet Earth has been changing against the backdrop of a warming world. Here, we look at the effects of global heating on Victoria Falls,
In 2019, however, Victoria Falls was silenced. In a drought described as the worst in a century, the flow of the Zambezi was reduced to a relative trickle and the Falls ran dry.
A single extreme weather event cannot, in isolation, be viewed as a consequence of climate change.
But the region is recording a sequence of extreme droughts that reflect what climate modellers have predicted will occur as a result of an increase in greenhouse gases in the world’s atmosphere as a result of human activity.
As already noted, there was nothing unusual about the 2019 drought, nor have you provided any evidence that extreme droughts are increasing in the region. The predictions of computer modellers are therefore irrelevant.
It is therefore misleading and inaccurate to claim that this perfectly common event is an “effect of global heating”.
Also your claim that it was the worst drought in a century is also false, as we know 1995/96 was much worse.
Moreover you grossly mislead readers with your image of the Falls supposedly drying up. This is something that happens every year between October and December.
Again according to Zimbabwe Tourism:
The seasonal rise and fall of the Zambezi River changes the look of Victoria Falls on a daily basis. The western side of the falls is lower than the eastern side and therefore carries the most water all year round. This fluctuation is less noticeable at Devil’s cataract and the Main Falls. From Livingstone Islands onwards, this ebb and flow becomes more apparent and at low water, this portion of the Falls dries up almost completely.
Although water levels are low during dry season, it is inaccurate for you to claim:
The flow of the Zambezi was reduced to a relative trickle and the Falls ran dry
There was still plentiful water at the time of year, it is simply that the eastern end is at a higher elevation that the water stops flowing over.
Worse still your image contrasts January 2019 with December 2018, with the caption “how the falls have changed over time”. But the two months are totally different in terms of water levels. As already noted, December always sees low lake levels, coinciding with the dry rock face you show.
According to Lonely Planet::
Every single year the Eastern Cataract of the Victoria Falls exposes a dry rock face, normally between the months of October to December,” explains Wilma Griffith, a marketing executive at the Wild Horizons Lookout Café, a restaurant overlooking the Batoka Gorge. “Historical figures show that on or around 14 November the river is at its lowest and then gradually starts to rise again around 14 December, once the localised rains start having an impact on the Zambezi.”
November and December are the end of spring and the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere, but it can take time for the post-winter rainfall in the DRC and Angola to travel downstream to Victoria Falls, and eventually to in the Indian Ocean.
By January the heavy spring rains upstream lead to a large rise in lake levels, as the chart below from the Zambezi River Authority shows:
The correct comparison should have been between December 2018 and December 2019. Instead your readers are left with the false impression that the drying up from January 2019 and December 2019 was not a natural event that occurs every year, but something to do with climate change.
You have claimed that the “drying up” of the Victoria Falls in December 2019 was the effect of “global heating”.
You also erroneously claim that the 2019 drought was the worst in a century
You dishonestly publish a flagrantly misleading comparison of photos of the Falls, comparing the dry season in December 2019 with the wet season in January 2019.
But you fail to disclose:
There have been many worse droughts there in the past
The drought of 1995/96 was much worse
The aforesaid “drying up” is a normal annual event, which occurs every dry season because the eastern side of the falls is at a higher elevation, and not because the river dries up to a trickle.
The Falls were back in full spate by January 2020, just as they are every year as a result of spring rainfall, and just as they were a year previously.
There is no evidence whatsoever that climate change, which you ludicrously label global heating, has had any impact whatsoever on the Victoria Falls.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
June 10, 2021 at 03:03AM