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Tech & Science Victoria Falls shrink to a trickle, feeding climate change fears

18:05  06 december  2019
18:05  06 december  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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climate change . Image: In places, the usually mighty Victoria Falls is reduced to a a trickle by drought. image/svg+xml. But avoiding the Victoria Falls would be like going to Rome and avoiding the Colosseum, or travelling to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, or visiting China and by-passing

“These pictures of the Victoria Falls are a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment and our livelihood,” wrote Mr Lungu. “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.”

a pile of hay: Visitors walk over a bridge as dry cliffs are seen along the parched gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS Visitors walk over a bridge as dry cliffs are seen along the parched gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls

By Mike Hutchings and Tim Cocks

VICTORIA FALLS, Zambia (Reuters) - For decades Victoria Falls, where southern Africa's Zambezi river cascade down 100 metres into a gash in the earth, have drawn millions of holidaymakers to Zimbabwe and Zambia for their stunning views.

But the worst drought in a century has slowed the waterfalls to a trickle, fuelling fears that climate change could kill one of the region's biggest tourist attractions.

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Victoria Falls has been reduced to a trickle along much of its mile-wide curtain in this photo from CLIMATE THREAT. Zambia's president warned the Victoria Falls could dry up for good unless Both countries have had power cuts because a reservoir that feed a hydroelectric plant is down to 11 per

Climate change has been blamed for the dramatic change in landscape, with Zambia’s President making a direct plea to Western states to clean up their Victoria Falls , one of the world’s most iconic waterfalls have been reduced to a pathetic trickle after being starved by the drought that is crippling

a man standing in front of a large rock: Visitors take pictures before dry cliffs following a prolonged drought at Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS Visitors take pictures before dry cliffs following a prolonged drought at Victoria Falls

While they typically slow down during the dry season, officials said this year had brought an unprecedented decline in water levels.

a view of a rocky mountain: A dry section of the Zambezi river is seen above the gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS A dry section of the Zambezi river is seen above the gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls

"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, a seller of tourist handicrafts in his 30s said outside his shop in Livingstone, on the Zambian side.

"It affects us, because ... clients ... can see on the Internet (that the falls are low) .... We don't have so many tourists."

a path with trees on the side of a mountain: Spray rises up in the distance along the parched gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS Spray rises up in the distance along the parched gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls

As world leaders gather in Madrid for the COP25 to discuss ways to halt catastrophic warming caused by human-driven greenhouse gas emissions, southern Africa is already suffering some of its worst effects -- with taps running dry and some 45 million people in need of food aid amid crop failures.

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Victoria Falls (Lozi: Mosi-oa-Tunya, "The Smoke That Thunders") is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Image: A trickle of water flows over the Victoria Falls , which has fallen to its lowest level in years. In an exclusive interview from the State House, in the capital Lusaka, Edgar Lungu told Sky News that climate change is having a devastating effect - and the impact is being felt most of all in developing

a view of a rocky mountain: A dry section of the Zambezi river is seen above the gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS A dry section of the Zambezi river is seen above the gorge on the Zambian side of Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe and Zambia have suffered power cuts as they are heavily reliant on hydropower from plants at the Kariba Dam which is on the Zambezi river upstream of the waterfalls.

Stretches of this kilometre-long natural wonder are nothing but dry stone. Water flow is low in others.

STARK REMINDER

Data from the Zambezi River Authority shows water flow at its lowest since 1995, and well under the long term average. Zambian President Edgar Lungu has called it "a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment".

a close up of a canyon: Dry cliffs are seen following a prolonged drought at Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS Dry cliffs are seen following a prolonged drought at Victoria Falls

Yet scientists are cautious about categorically blaming climate change. There is always seasonal variation in levels.

Harald Kling, hydrologist at engineering firm Poyry and

Victoria Falls shrink to a trickle, feeding climate change fears

  Victoria Falls shrink to a trickle, feeding climate change fears Victoria Falls shrink to a trickle, feeding climate change fearsVICTORIA FALLS, Zambia (Reuters) - For decades Victoria Falls, where southern Africa's Zambezi river cascade down 100 meters into a gash in the earth, have drawn millions of holidaymakers to Zimbabwe and Zambia for their stunning views.

Victoria Falls , which lies between Zambia and Zimbabwe, have almost completely dried up after the One of the world's most iconic waterfalls have been reduced to a pathetic trickle after being starved He told Sky News: It's [ climate change ] a serious problem, a genuine one. And it is surprising when

Scientists have warned that climate change will affect marine ecosystems in ways that we never even imagined before. The problem for the marine This may weaken species ability to respond to a changing environment as a result of changing climate , increasing pollution or increasing predation.

a Zambezi river expert, said climate science deals in decades, not particular years, "so it's sometimes difficult to say this is because of climate change because droughts have always occurred".

"If they become more frequent, then you can start saying, ok, this may be climate change," he added.

He said early climate models had predicted more frequent dry years in the Zambezi basin, but that "what was surprising was that it (drought) has been so frequent" -- the last drought was only three years ago. As the river gets hotter, 437 million cubic metres of water are evaporating every second, he said.

In Livingstone this week, four tourists stared into a mostly dry chasm normally gushing with white water. German student Benjamin Konig was disappointed.

"Seems to be not much (water), a few rocky stones with a little water between it," he said.

Richard Beilfuss, head of the International Crane Foundation, who has studied the Zambezi for the past three decades, thinks climate change is delaying the monsoon, "concentrating rain in bigger events which are then much harder to store, and a much longer, excruciating dry season".

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Victoria Falls is the only waterfall in the world with a length of more than a kilometer and a height of more than The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard from a distance of 40 kilometers, while the spray and mist from the falling water For centuries local African tribes had a sacral fear from the waterfall.

We are planning on traveling to Victoria Falls with our children. Our youngest child will be 6 at the time. Which is true--is the river in full flood or have climate change and "an El Niño weather pattern that has brought the worst drought in decades to parts of Africa" reduced it to a trickle ?

a large waterfall over a rocky cliff: Visitors walk along a walkway as spray rises up from a  flowing section of Victoria Falls© Reuters/MIKE HUTCHINGS Visitors walk along a walkway as spray rises up from a flowing section of Victoria Falls

(Reporting by Mike Hutchings in Victoria Falls and Tim Cocks in Johannesubrg; additional reporting by Chris Mfula in Lusaka, Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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