Around Sydney on Australia’s east coast, heavy rainfall causes flooding. The conspiracy myth is now spreading on social media that the government deliberately caused the flood by manipulating the weather.

The east coast of Australia, especially the Sydney area, is currently being hit by severe flooding due to rainfall. About 50,000 people have already been asked to evacuate their homes, NBC News reported on Tuesday. According to the British news channel “BBC”, conspiracy myths about the cause of the natural disaster are now spreading on social media. They claim that the Australian government deliberately manipulated the weather through so-called “cloud seeding” in such a way that the heavy rains came about.

Conspiracy myth blames “cloud seeding” for rain in Australia

In the “cloud seeding” method, chemical particles, usually silver ioids, are shot into clouds. The water vapor of the clouds settles around these particles, which leads to precipitation. According to the BBC, this method is used worldwide, for example, to irrigate crops in a more targeted manner. However, there is no evidence of a connection between “cloud seeding” and the floods in Australia. Even if this method had been used, its effects on rainfall would be negligible, British climate researcher Ellie Gilbert emphasized to the British broadcaster. Large-scale coordinated attempts to influence the weather are neither physically nor financially feasible. Likewise, the assumption that there is any motive for manipulating the weather is a complete myth.

According to climate experts, there is no clearly identifiable trigger for the current heavy rainfall around Sydney, which led to the flood. In addition to climate change, a weather phenomenon called “La Niña” also plays a role, in which the water surface in the East Pacific cools down significantly because strong winds move the warm water surface towards Indonesia. This could then lead to more rain in Australia.

Nevertheless, some users from various social media see the heavy precipitation around Sydney as “weather engineering”, i.e. artificially created weather. This misconception is part of a conspiracy ideology spread around the world, according to which governments control the weather to put pressure on their populations. This also includes the conspiracy myth of “chemtrails” – the false assumption that contrails in the sky caused by airplanes actually spread certain chemicals with which the population is supposed to be poisoned. According to the BBC, many of the accounts that spread the conspiracy theories about the floods in Australia also shared those about global warming, corona vaccinations and moon landings.

Conspiracy myths about flooding are repeated

Floods have occurred more frequently in Australia – it is also not the first time that these are accompanied by such conspiracy stories. When the east coast of Australia was already affected by flooding due to heavy rain in March of this year, conspiracy ideologist James Bartolo, well-known in Australia, spoke on his Facebook page of a “government weather warfare attack”. The Australian authorities had already noticed him during the corona pandemic: with anti-lockdown protests and his own website on which he denied the existence of the corona virus.

As the US news channel “CBS News” reported in April, pilots of an Australian airline even received threats because social media had been falsely reported that they had triggered another flood through “cloud seeding”. The trajectory of an airplane over flooded areas was also shared online. According to “CBS”, the flight had only taken aerial photos for a mapping company, which also confirmed the order. The airline had received more than 100 threats against the pilots.

According to the “BBC”, a video from the Australian TV channel “7News” from 2016 about severe flooding in Tasmania was increasingly shared during the current flood. This reported on “cloud seeding” in the region shortly before the floods, raising the question of a connection. However, according to a fact check by the “Reuters” news agency, an investigation by the Tasmanian government showed that “cloud seeding” had no measurable impact on the heavy rainfall, which had been confirmed by experts.

Quellen:NBC News, BBC, Daily Mail, Quarks, CBS News, Reuters