Australia has been devastated by floods, but some people think it’s just ‘weather manipulation’
Theorists believe the government controls the weather
Conspiracy theories focused on why Australia is experiencing such severe flooding are spreading across the internet – despite scientists saying otherwise.
Around eight months of rain fell in Sydney in just four days and around 50,000 people were asked to leave Australia’s biggest city this week.
Scientists say that while warmer oceans and saturated soils are just some of the factors behind the intense rainfall, these extreme weather conditions cannot be attributed to a single factor.
However online, conspiracy theorists have their own ideas. According to reports from the BBCthey attribute the extreme rainfall to “cloud seeding” and “weather manipulation”.
Cloud seeding is actually a real thing. It is a weather modification technique that enhances a cloud’s ability to produce rain or snow by introducing tiny particles into the clouds, causing water vapor to accumulate and eventually to fall. It is used to help irrigate crops.
That said, there is no evidence to suggest this technique has anything to do with the extreme rainfall in Sydney.
Despite the fact that there is no evidence to support these theories, the claims still reach thousands of people on social media. Posting a video of the flooding, a TikToker wrote: “Nothing to see here, just a typical weather engineering day in Sydney.”
Posting on Twitter, another said: “It’s happening because the elites organize the weather. Tell me this is a normal weather pattern!”
Theorists believe this is all part of the government’s plan to “weaponise” the weather against the public. Not that this conspiracy is new – it’s been around for years.
Dr Ellie Gilbert, a climatologist at the British Antarctic Survey, told the BBC: “The idea that this is happening on a large scale and that there is a motive to manipulate the weather is a complete myth.”
An old report from the Australian television channel 9News also makes the rounds, in which the newsreader reports on concerns among Tasmanians that flooding in the region in 2016 may have been linked to cloud seeding. Yet a thorough investigation by the Tasmanian government – which was backed by scientists – found that cloud seeding was not a cause.
Climate change is of course making flooding worse, as well as La Niña – a phenomenon that sees strong winds blowing warm Pacific surface waters from South America towards Indonesia, forcing colder water to rise to the surface. This increases the likelihood of rain, cyclones and cooler daytime temperatures in Australia.