Victoria Falls Dries Drastically After Worst Drought in a Century
The falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. They are also called Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means "the smoke that thunders" in the indigenous Lozi language, according to AccuWeather. But contrasting photographs taken by Reuters in January and December 2019 show how a severe drought has shrunk the falls into something closer to the steam that whispers.
This looks very, very wrong 😔 https://t.co/lCL1Ea4mul— Metro (@Metro)1575549009.0
Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu also tweeted images of the dried-out falls in October.
"These pictures of Victoria Falls are a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment and our livelihood," he wrote at the time. "It is with no doubt that developing countries like Zambia are the most impacted by climate change and the least able to afford its consequences."
These pictures of the Victoris Falls are a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment and ou… https://t.co/7TiYroyc8Z— Edgar Chagwa Lungu (@Edgar Chagwa Lungu)1569936709.0
The falls usually decline somewhat during the dry season, but the worst drought to bake the region in a century has reduced their water flow to the lowest level in 25 years, Reuters reported. This has led to concerns that the attraction that draws millions of visitors to Zambia and Zimbabwe could dry up all together.
"In previous years, when it gets dry, it's not to this extent. This (is) our first experience of seeing it like this," Dominic Nyambe, who sells crafts to tourists on the Zambian side of the falls, told Reuters. "It affects us, because ... clients ... can see on the Internet (that the falls are low) .... We don't have so many tourists."
The dwindling falls isn't the only way drought has impacted the two countries. Both Zambia and Zimbabwe rely on hydropower from the Kariba Dam, located on the Zambezi River that also feeds the falls. The reduced water flow has led to power cuts. In southern Africa overall, around 45 million people require food aid because of crop failures.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jim Andrews said that it was unclear if this year's drought was caused by climate change. And hydrologist Harald Kling, who is an expert on the Zambezi River, cautioned Reuters it isn't always possible to blame the climate crisis for one dry year.
"If they become more frequent, then you can start saying, ok, this may be climate change," he said.
But that does seem to be the case for the Zambezi basin. While climate models predicted more droughts for the region, Kling said their recent frequency has still been "surprising." The last drought was only three years ago.
While this year's reduced flow is particularly dramatic, Elisha Moyo, Principal Climate Change Researcher at Zimbabwe's Ministry of Environment, Climate and Tourism, told BBC News in November that lower-flow years were becoming more frequent. This year, the cascade's average flow has been reduced by nearly 50 percent.
"Who knows maybe one year there will be no falls completely, no water," Moyo said.
- 55 Elephants Have Died in 2 Months From Unprecedented ... ›
- Taps Run Dry in Zimbabwe's Capital City Leaving 2 Million People ... ›
- Zimbabwe's Access to Water Is in Peril - EcoWatch ›
- These Trees Survived California's Drought and That's Giving ... ›
- Climate Change Could Bring Drought to Amazon, Greater Rain to ... ›
By Robin Scher
Beyond the questions surrounding the availability, effectiveness and safety of a vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic has led us to question where our food is coming from and whether we will have enough.
- Can Urban Farms Prevent Hunger in 54 Million People in the U.S. ... ›
- New Report Finds Malnutrition World's Top Killer Amid Pandemic ... ›
- Oxfam Warns 12,000 Could Die Per Day From Hunger Due to ... ›
- Three Ways to Support a Healthy Food System During the COVID ... ›
- Trump USDA Resumes Effort to Cut Food Stamp Benefits - EcoWatch ›
- Pandemic Threatens Food Security for Many College Students ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Tearing through the crowded streets of Philadelphia, an electric car and a gas-powered car sought to win a heated race. One that mimicked how cars are actually used. The cars had to stop at stoplights, wait for pedestrians to cross the street, and swerve in and out of the hundreds of horse-drawn buggies. That's right, horse-drawn buggies. Because this race took place in 1908. It wanted to settle once and for all which car was the superior urban vehicle. Although the gas-powered car was more powerful, the electric car was more versatile. As the cars passed over the finish line, the defeat was stunning. The 1908 Studebaker electric car won by 10 minutes. If in 1908, the electric car was clearly the better form of transportation, why don't we drive them now? Today, I'm going to answer that question by diving into the history of electric cars and what I discovered may surprise you.
As bitcoin's fortunes and prominence rise, so do concerns about its environmental impact.
- 15 Top Conservation Issues of 2021 Include Big Threats, Potential ... ›
- How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy - EcoWatch ›
By David Drake and Jeffrey York
The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.
The Big Idea
People often point to plunging natural gas prices as the reason U.S. coal-fired power plants have been shutting down at a faster pace in recent years. However, new research shows two other forces had a much larger effect: federal regulation and a well-funded activist campaign that launched in 2011 with the goal of ending coal power.
- Major Milestone: More than 100,000 MW Worth of Coal-Fired Power ... ›
- Coal Will Not Bring Appalachia Back to Life, But Tech and ... ›
- Renewables Beat Coal in the U.S. for the First Time This April ... ›