By Paul Homewood
Today’s BBC fake climate news comes from Victoria Falls:
“The effects of severe drought and climate change are having an impact on one of the world’s great natural wonders, Victoria Falls”, claims the BBC.
Wow!! That must be bad!
Fortunately though, we don’t have to rely on the BBC, as Africa Geographic revealed the true story in 2015:
A number of photos have been circulating on the internet recently showing a very dry Victoria Falls. Some captions have even claimed that Vic Falls has dried up completely.
This is totally untrue. Vic Falls has not dried up, and a ‘dry’ falls is, in fact, part of a very normal, yearly cycle. There is always water (lots of it) on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls, and late in the dry season (October/November), very little water reaches the Zambian side of the Falls.
African Travel and Tourism Association chairman Ross Kennedy says: “Traditionally, Victoria Falls is at its driest at this time of year, and often before the rainy season begins, the Zambian side does come close to drying up, with just a small amount of water flowing over in some places. This is simply because the falls are slightly lower on the Zimbabwean side.
However, due to exceptionally low rainfall in the catchment area during the last rainy season, the water level is at its lowest since 1996. The water levels will continue to drop as usual until the rains start in the catchment area north of Victoria Falls.”
So rest assured, Victoria Falls still remains one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and don’t let a few misleading images and captions lead you to believe differently.
In short, the falls are always dry at this time of year. Yes, this year has been much drier than normal, but the water level was even lower in 1996.
This is “weather”, not “climate change”.
What about long term rainfall trends there?
The World Bank climate portal gives rainfall data for Zambia from 1901 to 2016. The red trend line on the chart below shows absolutely no long term trend at all.
Rainfall in Zambia is strongly influenced by ENSO, with El Nino bringing lower rainfall, hence the low levels of rainfall in 2015/16. Most years since 2000 however have been well wetter than average.
Shoddy reporting of this nature is, sadly, all too common these days on the BBC.