Australian media lies about rainfall

Just lately after our 8 days of the Great 2010 East Coast Monsoon – I am getting a bit weary of TV news interviews of people from flooded towns making variants of this standard “knee jerk” claim; “..ten years of worst ever drought and now we get flooded out..”.

A woman from Dubbo has been all over TV news on the weekend with this sort of statement. It puzzles me that TV news journalists or editors can not be bothered to make basic checks on the net that take seconds using Google.

Facts are that Dubbo flooded just before Christmas 2009 – not quite a year ago – so peoples memories can be amazingly short.

Now going back to November 2008 – there were floods at Tamworth and I posted on strange comments from the NSW Premier – then Nathan Rees.

That post included drought maps for NSW and you can see there was no drought for the northern half of NSW from 1st Nov 2005 – to 30 Oct 2008.

Making drought maps now at this BoM site and you can see there is no drought over the vast areas of most of Australia for 36 months, 1st Dec 2007 to 30 Nov 2010.

So I think people claiming “ten years of drought” or a “decade of drought”, should be careful to check facts about exactly what it is they are claiming.

I notice this Sydney Morning Herald article from yesterday with another classic media lie.

“But the soaking has done little for Sydney’s dams, with only one millimetre falling over Warragamba in the seven days to yesterday morning.”

I take their yesterday morning to mean the 4th. Taking a quick look at daily rain data for 28th November – 4th December for stations in the huge Warragamba catchment, I find, Lithgow recorded 129.2, Bowral 112 and Taralga 85.

All useful rain that falls free from the sky and will run down creeks to Warragamba Dam. Simply stunning misinformation from a huge media company.

They could have also checked the Sydney Catchment Authority website to find this, 100mm rain for the week ended 2nd Dec.

Added on 7th – just saw this incorrect reference to “..a decade of drought..” in another Sydney Morning Herald article. “Farmers say goodbye drought, hello flood”. They talk about the Warren Shire which is in the northern half of NSW where long periods of the last decade have been drought free.

6 comments to Australian media lies about rainfall

  • val majkus

    Warwick to be fair it might be a professionally related, I remember one summer I worked as a tour guide in Croatia (part of the old Yugoslavia) and I recall one German speaking guide saying to me ‘whenever I walk near a tour bus I start to think in German’ and to media people maybe the headline’s the most important thing – don’t know but nothing beats historical data like those GISS records from 1880 (see WUWT today)

  • Lank

    Water flow into the Warragamba dam is ‘estimated/projected’ www.iliveinsydney.com/water/rainfall/warragamba-catchment-weather.php
    based on the rainfall stats from the Mittagong weather station www.resetit.com.au/weather/rain.asp
    which is ‘central’ to the catchment. According to this weather station only 16.6mm of rain has been recorded there since the end of May!
    I spent much of last week in heavy rainfall at Mittagong with Canadians who thought Mittagong was one of the driest areas of Australia until they visited.

  • WSH

    Odd that anybody would use Mittagong rain data when it is not in Warragamba catchment – see BoM map

  • Ian George

    Sydney dams on 31st Oct = 58%
    Sydney dams on 10th Dec = 67%

    And we will be coming into the wet season soon.

  • Kandler

    Mittagong is in the Warragamba catchment.It’s at the head of the Nattai River. But it’s just one data point for a catchment yield estimate….

  • WSH

    Nice to see you having a look around Kandler.
    I agree the Google map with “terrain” on shows Mittagong inside and very near the boundary of Warragamba – thanks for that reminder. Maybe the BoM has a station named Mittagong in the catchment adjoining to the east. When rain is next widespread on that BoM map – I will check it again.

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