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Mangrove forests: How 40 million Australian trees died of thirst-BBC

August 16, 2022

By Paul Homewood

Even by BBC standards this is breathtakingly dishonest:



Jim Steele has written a detailed piece on this at WUWT, which is well worth reading – see here.

In short, the BBC video features Dr Norman Duke, of James Cook University, claiming that there was a massive die off of mangroves in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Australia, and that it has been caused by climate change:



The very headline used by the BBC is little more than propaganda, implying that trees have sensory ability.

As the video goes on to explain, the trees died when sea levels fell by 40cm during the El Nino of 2015/16. Mangroves, of course, grow in the intertidal zone, between high and low tide; some of the trees at the highest locations would inevitably have died when the sea levels dropped for several months.

But sea levels drop in this way every time there is an El Nino, and there is no evidence that El Ninos are becoming stronger or more common because of global warming.

And tide gauges at Weipa, which is at the tip of the Gulf, confirm several other such events in recent decades:



Although 40 million trees sounds a lot, it is less than 1% of Australia’s mangrove forests.

But then the dishonesty gets even worse, implying that all of Australia’s mangroves are in peril. In reality, it is only really the Carpentaria region that is affected by El Nino sea level drops.


And then it goes on to declare the natural El Nino event as “climate-related”:


Then implying that the weather was also extremely dry:




El Ninos do lead to drier weather in Northern Australia, but rainfall was actually above average in 2015/16, and the climate used to be much drier pre-1970:




In short, the weather and sea levels in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 2015/16 were what you would expect for any El Nino, and Mangrove die offs like these must be regular, natural occurrences.

Dr Norma Duke, by the way, hails from the James Cook University, You may recall that this was the very same university which Dr Peter Ridd exposed a few years ago, for its shoddy work on the Great Barrier Reef. He was, of course, sacked for telling the truth.

  1. August 16, 2022 3:41 pm

    oh no! It is worse than we thought! Give us unlimited funding!

  2. jimlemaistre permalink
    August 16, 2022 3:56 pm

    Zealotry . . . the result of 30 years of unlimited, unrestrained and unchallenged Dogma and Propaganda thanks to the Global Media Establishment . . .

    Journalists the World over, in my view, are the greatest obstacle to Recognizing the True Science surrounding this whole Climate Change discussion. Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey Stick’ graph based on his findings from the growth rings of a few trees, wiped out Two 500-year periods of Climate Change from the record. The middle Ages Warming Period and The Little Ice Age, completely disappeared from his graph. Common sense and a quick review of Historical FACT proves to any right-thinking person that ‘Something is Amiss’ . . . But NO . . . The Media, the IPCC and Governments of the World latched onto this like the ‘Tablets of Moses’ brought down to enlighten the World.

    Now, Governments of the world are being Shamed into ‘Clean Green Energy’, even though CO2 has never led to Warming Periods at any time throughout the Holocene. Rather than cleaning up the noxious effluent coming out of the Smokestacks of the World with Scrubbers, Electrostatic Precipitators and Nitrous Oxide Burners, Environmentalists focus on CO2 . . . ‘The Giver of Life’ for 3 billion years . . . Shameful . . . False Protagonism . . . Without Merit . . . Everywhere we turn . . .

  3. Martin Brumby permalink
    August 16, 2022 4:05 pm

    But pity the poor Beeb ‘environmentalists’. How can they wangle a free holiday in Oz (probably Business Class) without shedding crocodile tears about the latest Climate Armageddon down under? The healthy GBR has been a disaster for the poor things.

    Their chums in ABC probably will have a return fortnight in Cornwall and weep that the evil CO2 has killed ALL the mangrove swamps down there. No sign of them!

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      August 16, 2022 4:27 pm

      Pooor . . . Them !! . . . Imagine the suffering . . . 😢

  4. August 16, 2022 4:07 pm

    No need to panic just yet…

    A major restriction for where mangroves can live is temperature. The cooler temperatures of northern temperate regions prove too much for the mangroves.
    . . .
    However, rising temperatures and sea level due to climate change are allowing mangroves to expand their ranges farther away from the equator and encroach on temperate wetlands, like salt marshes.

    Expanding *due to climate change* – marvellous 😎

    • Stuart Hamish permalink
      August 22, 2022 4:20 pm

      You can just envision the encroachment of mangroves into “temperate wetlands ” as the corollary climate change scare story ……Such is the unfalsifiable hypothesis : tidal flat recession and the mass die off’s of mangrove trees is the fault of climate change ….The expansion of mangrove habitats is climate change too

  5. August 16, 2022 4:25 pm

    Here’s the whole climate-catastrophist, net-zero cult summed up in one 3-minute YouTube video

  6. BLACK PEARL permalink
    August 16, 2022 4:27 pm

    Are you going to shove this dishonesty up their noses again Paul ?

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      August 16, 2022 4:28 pm

      PLEASE . . . DO !!

  7. August 16, 2022 4:39 pm

    “Although 40 million trees sounds a lot …”

    … it is merely 3x the number felled in Scotland to make space of wind turbines and their access roads.

    Australia is 100x the area of Scotland.

  8. catweazle666 permalink
    August 16, 2022 5:34 pm

    So 10 million short of two year’s worth of trees felled, shipped half way round the World and burned at Drax power station to enrich a bunch of CCC trough snouters by >£800,000 per annum via “Green” subsidies…
    Strange the BBC don’t take issue with that.

  9. Stuart Hamish permalink
    August 16, 2022 5:50 pm

    It would seem the BBC is now switching to another Antipodean climate scare story to furnish the disgraced James Cook University after it was revealed the Great Barrier Reef coral cover has enlarged to record extent

  10. eastdevonoldie permalink
    August 16, 2022 6:20 pm

    After the ill timed ‘good’ news on the Barrier Reef recovery a ‘bad’ news story was needed…………… and right on time here it is – unbelievable!

  11. David A permalink
    August 16, 2022 6:21 pm

    Again, “is that true, or did you just hear it on the BBC?”…………

  12. terryfwall permalink
    August 16, 2022 7:11 pm

    I did see this on the bbcnewsdaily email yesterday and was hoping you would comment on it, Paul. What I found most offensive was the contradictory attempt to have it both ways by Prof Duke: “drop in sea level a known event with El Nino” and “impacts not noticed before”, “may seem counter-intuitive as climate change raises sea levels” but, of course, both are due to (human-caused) climate change. His solution was ridiculous – aerial watering to keep the mangroves alive next time. That’s 76 square kilometers, by the way!

    In case your readers want to watch the whole laughable 2m20s it’s at

  13. Mad Mike permalink
    August 16, 2022 7:50 pm

    My memory is not what it was but didn’t the Alarmists and the BBC, same thing I suppose, say the sea levels are rising at an increasing rate. So confusing.

    • jimlemaistre permalink
      August 16, 2022 8:01 pm

      Satellites measure the Ocean Surface . . . Out in the middle . . . The Earth is a Centrifuge . . . it is turning once a day at 1,000 mi/hr or 1,600km/hr. Water accumulates in the middle of the Oceans at the Gyres and along the Equator.
      NOT Along the Shore !!

      • Duker permalink
        August 18, 2022 3:39 am

        No. The satellites measure the surface ‘everywhere’- more usefully the wave heights
        Its the prevailing winds from the natural events during El Nino cycle which push the surface higher in some areas and lower in others. Its a common occurrence in large lakes too.
        While sea level is a common phrase there is no natural level , even when the tides arent considered.

  14. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 16, 2022 9:18 pm

    TREES is probably misleading, scrubby bushes more likely.

    Regardless, this is natural carbon capture and storage, most of it will eventually get buried into the mud with no oxygen and last for ‘ever’, meanwhile a new generation grows.

  15. Ben Vorlich permalink
    August 16, 2022 9:37 pm

    I’ve noticed that my recent complaints to the BBC about this type of reporting. The two stage process goes like this
    I complian
    BBC reject it
    I complain again
    BBC say we’re right because we’re reporting what experts at wherever sat but thanks anyway

    • Micky R permalink
      August 17, 2022 7:19 am

      ” BBC say we’re right because we’re reporting what experts at wherever sat but thanks anyway”

      The BBC (and the rest of the medjia) should be questioning the experts.
      The BBC used “editorial decision” to reject my last complaint.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 17, 2022 11:04 am

        At the infamous 28Gate meeting the BBC decided to only allow climate alarmism to be promoted so you can’t expect them to do what their legal charter requires. You can always opt for using the money you spend on a tv licence to cover the increased energy costs the BBC propaganda has caused.

  16. terbreugghen permalink
    August 16, 2022 11:15 pm

    Sea level decline was cause of die-off. . . I thought sea level decline was a good thing. . .

  17. Phoenix44 permalink
    August 17, 2022 8:44 am

    I struggle to understand that BOM chart as the middle part is the reference period for calculating the anomaly. Why not just show rainfall amounts? The reference period (1961-1990) seems to have both very high and very low figures so the average is hugely misleading. Data presented in a very opaque way.

    • dave permalink
      August 17, 2022 4:52 pm

      The BBC is clearly ‘out of gas,’ so far as its propaganda is concerned. We, in this forum, as veterans of the climate war, may get annoyed at seeing yet more nonsense from the MSM. But, since few in the U.K. care deeply about Australia, or its weather, or its people, or its animals and plants, fake news about these matters hardly advances the BBC’s agenda of ‘gaslighting’ the British people, does it?

      There have been so many ‘Project Fear!’ campaigns in the last few years that, in my opinion, more and more people are becoming immunized to them ,and are rediscovering the value in the saying, ‘Stay calm and carry on!’

  18. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 17, 2022 8:03 pm

    Via climate depot.

  19. tygrus permalink
    August 18, 2022 9:10 am

    When Climate Change scientists say “heads I win, tails you loose” it’s no longer science. They blame AGW for rising sea levels, then blame AGW for falling sea levels. The biggest climate driver is natural weather, AGW would have very little affect but their models & conclusions minimise the natural while inflating AGW to cause or exacerbate any event in both directions determined by opinion not facts.

  20. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    August 22, 2022 2:41 pm

    Those blips on the graph are more like 15 cm, not 40 cm.
    They seem like a week or two duration not several months.
    Weipa is in Queensland not Northern Territory, but both are marginal to the Gulf of Carpentaria as noted.
    The whole story of this alleged sea level change does not add up.
    I would favour a pathogen over climate change, ab initio. Geoff S

  21. Geoff Sherrington permalink
    August 22, 2022 2:41 pm

    Those blips on the graph are more like 15 cm, not 40 cm.
    They seem like a week or two duration not several months.
    Weipa is in Queensland not Northern Territory, but both are marginal to the Gulf of Carpentaria as noted.
    The whole story of this alleged sea level change does not add up.
    I would favour a pathogen over climate change, ab initio. Geoff S

    • August 22, 2022 3:17 pm

      The 1972 El Nino is a good example, Geoff.

      The Weipa sea levels dropped from a peak of 7033mm in 1971 to 6629mm in 1972, a drop of 404mm, and remained at a low level for about 8 months.

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