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Syria drought claims are demonstrably false

Roger Andrews, writing at Euan Mearns' site, has just demolished the claim that the Syrian uprising was something to do with climate change. Firstly with an analysis of rainfall changes in the country:

The average [change in rainfall] for all seven stations was 7% below the pre-2006 average, decreasing to 4% when only the five “cropland” stations (Lattakia, Aleppo, Kamishi, Hama and Damascus) are considered...

When the Palmer Drought Severity Index is analysed, it's the same story. These:

lend no support to the claims that Syria suffered severe and widespread drought after 2006.

There is also some very interesting analysis of what may have been behind the Syrian uprising (our old friend the government).

This is devastating. Read the whole thing.

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Reader Comments (14)

Who is going to send a copy of this to Prince Charles, and to Ms. Church

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Lets see If I got this right, the Syrian government pushed more agricultural land development over the last 30 years which required more irrigation and ground water pumping. In 2007, the same government decided to charge market prices for diesel, effectively tripling its cost so farmers could no longer afford pump water and irrigate their fields. This led to a large drop in wheat production and many farmers moving back to the cities. To rephrase that, higher energy prices led to drop in wheat production. Then in 2008 and 2009, the Syrians watched the Arab spring get started in Tunisia and Egypt. Oddly enough, the Tunisian uprising was caused by a rapid increase in the price of wheat as Europe and the US started dramatically ramping up biofuel production increases prices of grains. Higher energy prices and higher food prices led to revolt. Apparently when 1st world solutions get applied in 3rd world countries the outcome is not smiles all around.

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSean

Don't tell me Prince Charles got it WRONG - surely that's not possible...!

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Even if Chuck and Church read it they'd claim it's not Peer-reviewed. Then again....I suppose Chuck thinks he's a Peer (he is) so just by reading it it is reviewed.

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Nigeria ..a similar situation as regards population. More than doubled to 170 million since 1980 and I don't think the land has kept up with it. BBC World Service had a program on it a few days back blaming Nigeria's mess on Climate stuff. Think its more fundamental than that corrupt kinda way?

Its raining the same as years back but too much in different places, deforestation, desertification. Yep...its a mess alright!

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterEx-expat Colin

OT - but not...

In the tangle of conflicting interests that is the Near + Middle East it is I suspect a fools errand to assign pervasive reasons for the disruption and each area has different factors predominating (some common).

There is much that is being filtered out by our media and governments. I've used the quote here before - but it bears repeating.

"Democracy is like a tramcar - it's useful to get from one place to another"

= a Recep Tayyip Erdoğan quote I heard on a BBC report in the wee hours last week - but obviously a bit too Austrian house painterish to make the 6 o'clock news...

I saw photos of hundreds of trucks on the border over one year ago and wondered how far the banditry had spread .... Raedwald blog suggests that the Daesh are intertwined with Turkey's ruling family who are actively conniving with the Mahdists for a slew of reasons.

Russian's next step will be to use the proposed SouthStream gas pipeline extension (diverted from Greece / Italy last year over EU Kiev meddling) as a bargaining chip (again).

Between Turkey and Pakistan is a powderkeg thats been building pressure for various reasons for some time. Climate change isn't one of those reasons - any way you slice it.

Will the robust rebuttal of the heir to the throne's millenialist wibblings make the mainstream? It'd be a brave and informed politician that challenged - and I don't see any at the moment, more's the pity

I doubt the generals will sit on the fence forever....

Charles III seems to like getting dressed up + heading off for Al Saud desert dinner parties with sheeps eyes on rice and sword dancing.

@Ex-expat Colin
as a sometime Oyibo the idea that Nigeria's woes are consequent from climate change is simply farcical - were it in my power I would dispatch the Beeboids in question to the rural delta for a three month secondment to local radio there :-) perhaps relocating the BBC in toto to Abuja is a fantasy - but hey, everybody needs goals...

Nov 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Registered Commentertomo

"Who is going to send a copy of this to Prince Charles, and to Ms. Church." richard verney

I think Raff should volunteer based on his discussion thread.

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Prince Chuck is dead right.
Why, it is only 4 or 5 years ago that Syria was a luscious tropical paradise with beautiful woodlands, rolling pastures of lush green grass, birds, bees, butterflies.
Oh, it was just so beautiful.
Then, along came the drought, turned it all into a desert which caused the locals to belt the living sh*t out of each other.
Yep, Prince Chuck is definitely on the money with this one. What a magnificent statesman he is.

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commentertoorightmate

Grain shortages on the world market caused prices to rise. These shortages just happened to occur as farmers were subsidised to grow vegetable oil, rather than food, so it could be burnt in diesel engines, because Greens said it was the right thing to do.

Grow oil, so people starve, and kill each other, to save the planet.

Nov 24, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Drought is a weather event. Climate is long-term weather. No increase in drought severity means no cause....

In any event climate change causes nothing by itself. It can only increase the risk - usually by around 5%.....

But global warming - natural or otherwise hasn't happened in 20 years so there is no cause in the first place.

No doubt there are floods coming that will also be blamed on climate change. The weasels have no shame.

I say radical Islamism caused the drought. It contains the same amount of sense.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Prince Charles is indeed right.

Over many years he has proved himself to be a right Charlie and let nobody forget that, it is about time the Duke of Edinburgh gave him a right good walloping.

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:40 PM | Registered CommenterDung

golf charlie: So, far from the busted Climate-change-caused-ISIS flush, we need to start and propagate a new meme: the green party caused ISIS! Should piss off Caroline Lucas no end...

Nov 24, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBlue Meanie

Blue Meanie, vegetable oil fuels terrorism, not cars.

I can't see Caroline Lucas or Prince Charlie Church liking it.

Nov 24, 2015 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

This is not fair! Fuel is useless nowadays, we have better technology but people need to change a view.

Dec 30, 2015 at 2:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJackCamps

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