Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

National Geographic On the Effects of Global Warming In Australia

A recent issue of National Geographic had a large article with many photos featuring the effect the drought in some areas of Australia is effecting the nation’s farm industry and of course they blame Global Warming:

The world’s most arid inhabited continent is perilously low on water. Beyond that simple fact, nothing about Australia’s water crisis is straightforward. Though Australians have routinely weathered dry spells, the current seven-year drought is the most devastating in the country’s 117 years of recorded history. The rain, when it does fall, seems to have a spiteful mind of its own—snubbing the farmlands during winter crop-sowing season, flooding the towns of Queensland, and then spilling out to sea. To many, the erratic precipitation patterns bear the ominous imprint of a human-induced climate shift. Global warming is widely believed to have increased the frequency and severity of natural disasters like this drought. What seems indisputable is that, as Australian environmental scientist Tim Kelly puts it, “we’ve got a three-quarters of a degree [Celsius] increase in temperature over the past 15 years, and that’s driving a lot more evaporation from our water. That’s climate change.”  [National Geographic]

Of course this isn’t true.  Scientists from the University of Newcastle among other researchers have already determined the drought in areas of southeastern Australia has nothing to do with global warming.  Something else I found interesting in the article that I didn’t know about before is the Goyder’s Line:

Goyder’s Line is a boundary line across South Australia corresponding to a rainfall boundary believed to indicate the edge of the area suitable for agriculture. North of Goyder’s Line, the rainfall is not reliable enough, and the land is only suitable for grazing and not cropping. The line traces a distinct change in vegetation. To the south, it is composed mainly of mallee scrub whilst to the north salt-bush. In general Goyder’s line represents the demarcation of a long-term rainfall average of 10 inches (254mm).

With barely 30 year’s knowledge of this new country to go on, farmers needed reliable information. In 1865 George Goyder provided it. He discouraged farmers from planting crops north of his line, declaring this land suitable only for light grazing. However farmers were optimistic. 1865 was a year of bumper rains, so many ignored Goyder and headed north, starting farms and planting crops. Just a few years later many had to abandon their farms. Goyder was proved correct and the land was indeed unsuitable for crops. Many farmhouse ruins can still be seen near Goyder’s line.  

In the past many farms were loss due to the inconsistent rainfall North of this line and in the article and the map that came with the article there are a number of farms now that are being lost as well.  History has shown us since 1865 that farms should not be established North of this line and yet a number of farms are there now yet people are blaming global warming for making these farms go under. 

I recommend everyone do themselves a favor and read the 10 Warming Myths that proves what rubbish the claims in the National Geographic are.  Better yet you can look with your own eyes as Australia has just been hit by a bitter early winter blast that has seen the country experience its coldest day in April in recorded history:

A new Australian record was set early this morning,
a temperature of minus 13 degrees, at Charlotte Pass on the Snowy Mountains. This is the lowest temperature recorded anywhere in Australia in April and is 13 below the average. [Weather Zone]

The record cold temperatures have continued to spread over Australia’s southeast. 

Anyway despite the misinformation, which National Geographic is not alone in passing, they at least have a nice photo spread with the article. 

One Comment