Story submitted by LeRoy Demarest
According to Al Gore’s polemic Lake Chad is shrinking due to global warming, however, Winston Churchill noted the shrinking of the lake in 1899.
One of the evidences used by Al Gore in his Oscar winning and vacuous work An Inconvenient Truth is the shrinking Lake Chad. Gore shows a series of four images of Lake Chad on page 116 of his book. The pictures show the lake shrinking from about 25,000 square kilometers in 1963 to about 1,500 square kilometers in 2001. While largely debunked here and elsewhere it is has been a used canary of climate change by others pushing the narrative and more recently here . NASA and others make the point that the shrinking of Lake Chad is most likely due to irrigation draws, overgrazing, and poor land use management. While there is obvious validity to this argument and explanation, the knowledge that Lake Chad has been shrinking is old news.
Well over a 100 years old, old news. In Winston Churchill’s book The River War: An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan , published in 1899 , Churchill specifically mentions Lake Chad. (This can be read for free online .) Following an account of a dust up between British and French forces in the small outpost of Fashoda in the Sudan, Churchill takes some time to describe how Northern and Central Africa was to be divided between the Europeans/Egyptians. He writes:
Altogether France has enough to occupy her in Central Africa for some time to come: and even when the long task is finished, the conquered regions are not likely to be of great value. They include the desert of the Great Sahara and wide expanses of equally profitless scrub or marsh. Only one important river, the Shari, flows through them, and never reaches the sea: and even Lake Chad, into which the Shari flows, appears to be leaking through some subterranean exit, and is rapidly changing from a lake into an immense swamp.
Clearly, Churchill and his contemporaries new that the lake had been diminishing for some time. It was of no desire to the British Empire and was vanishing rapidly. Unfortunately for us, modernity has a way of blinding us to history. Prior to cars, significant industry and anthropogenic global warming, Churchill et. al were well aware of Lake Chad metamorphosis to a swamp.