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By Paul Homewood

You will recall the Panorama edition last month, “Wild Weather: Our World Under Threat”.

Presented by the ubiquitous Justin Rowlatt, it made a series of absurd, easily debunked claims of how the world’s weather was getting worse because of climate change.

One segment dealt with a drought in Madagascar. Full of emotive scenes of starving children, Rowlatt claimed without a shred of evidence that the recent drought there was “climate-change induced”: (50 mins in)


Lo and behold, it turns out the drought was just a weather event after all, and that global warming had nothing at all to do with it. A new study has just been published by World Weather Attribution, who specialise in these matters, and who normally stretch every sinew to put the blame for bad weather on climate change.

These are its findings:

Southern Madagascar (the Grand Sud) is facing a deteriorating food security crisis, exacerbated by exceptionally low levels of rainfall over the last two years. In an area with 90% of the population living below the poverty line, this recent drought has contributed to tens of thousands facing severe famine-like conditions.

Severe food insecurity is the clearest impact of the ongoing drought in Madagascar. While precipitation deficits have been widespread across the southern half of the country, we chose to focus on the region in the very south-west of the country (the Grand Sud region) for two reasons: first, this is where the humanitarian impacts are most heavily concentrated, and second, because the commonly used Köppen-Geiger climate classification shows this area to exhibit somewhat unique climatic properties.

Scientists from South Africa, Madagascar, New Zealand, India, the Netherlands, France, United States of America and the United Kingdom, collaborated to assess to what extent human-induced climate change altered the likelihood and intensity of the below-average rainfall in Southern Madagascar.

Using published peer-reviewed methods, we analysed how human-induced climate change affected the 24 month low rainfall events in the Grand Sud region of Madagascar.

Based on observations and climate modelling, the occurrence of poor rains as observed from July 2019 to June 2021 in Southern Madagascar has not significantly increased due to human-caused climate change. While the observations and models combine to indicate a small shift toward more droughts like the 2019-2021 event as a consequence of climate change, these trends remain overwhelmed by natural variability.

That graph is key. The 2019-2021 drought was no worse than in 1990-92. Indeed rainfall was slightly higher this time around.

In other words, this was the sort of weather event that comes around every few decades.

There are of course hundreds of regions around the world where these disasters can occur, so you are bound to find several every year.

It’s a pity, but hardly surprising, that Rowlatt did not check the data first, instead of relying on the discredited Michael Mann, who knows nothing at all about these matters.



December 5, 2021