Mega-Drought for Murray Darling, Predicted by Kevin Long

I began my most recent newsletter to those subscribed at ‘’ with reference to the Michael Crichton quote: ‘If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”

I continued by providing a link to a recent blog post where I explain how British Explorer Matthew Flinders missed the Murray River’s mouth when he was mapping the southern Australian coastline in 1802, probably because the Murray’s mouth had closed over.

In response I received an email from Kevin Long explaining that the last mega-drought in the Murray-Darling spanned the period 1790 to 1820.

Kevin Long, a long-range weather forecaster based in Bendigo, Victoria, went on to explain that he believes we are at the beginning of another mega-drought in the Basin because of the solar minimum and phase of the current lunar cycle.

While it is fashionable for many climate scientists, and also social and political commentators, to scoff at the idea that the moon could influence climate, it is not disputed by those with an understanding of conventional physics that the moon’s gravitational field along with the day/night cycle of the spinning earth creates atmospheric tides that modulate high-altitude winds that have a major influence on weather.

The complete email from Kevin Long follows.

While providing a summary of the current extra-terrestrial situation as it affects rainfall in the Murray-Darling, Kevin Long continued with my leaf-tree analogy. In particular suggesting that he is a leaf attached to the big tree of knowledge.

I agree that there exists a vast amount of information concerning astronomy and historical climate patterns. Kevin Long has an intimate knowledge of these patterns as they affect rainfall in the Murray Darling Basin.

Prior to the establishment of the current Australia Bureau of Meteorology in 1909, Australian meteorologist had a keen knowledge of astronomy and considered solar, lunar and planetary cycles in their weather forecasting. I’m told that there was some interest in what was termed ‘solar terrestrial physics’ at the Bureau until the early 1950s. Now this tree of knowledge is ignored.
I’m told modern meteorologists are instead trained in how to interpret the output from general circulation models (GCMs).

It could be that as meteorologists have moved away from a deep knowledge of astronomy, and the influence of the sun, moon and planets on climate cycles, their skill at medium and long-range rainfall forecasting has greatly deteriorated.

Email from Kevin Long…

Hi Jennifer

The historical records you included about Matthew Finders indicate the Murray mouth was closed in 1802. This all fits with the weather cycle as I understand it to be at the time.

That was the middle of the last mega-drought, brought on by the Dalton minimum cycle 1790 to 1820 (three very low and long sun spot cycles only averaging about 35 sun spot number).

The solar minimum cycle repeats every two hundred years or thereabouts.

Just a little more evidence that indicates this leaf is still attached to the big tree of knowledge.

The Murray Darling Basin is subject to long periods of well below average rainfall, this occurs when the northeast lunar air tide cycle is not peaking during the monsoon season.
It takes 9 years for the northeast lunar air tide cycle to progress backwards through the summer months, after which the dryer transition phase takes the next 9 to 10 years to progress back through the summer months, it is during this time that a long drought is most likely to develop. (This year the peak of the northeast air tide is occurring in late November so we are at the start of that long dry period.)

The southern air tide phase that follows during the next 9 year (2025 to 2034) has only a small influence on the top half of the MDB’s rainfall, so if you don’t have above average solar activity the northern half of Australia is likely to remain in a low rainfall sequence for most of the next 28 years of the 37.2-year air tide cycle. It is only when a strong La Nina cycle happens to form, that a few cyclones are likely to be forced inland providing some temporary relief during this long dry period.

Global sea ice is now above the average of the last 35 years and the Antarctic ice is presently about 20% above average for this time of the year. This indicates a dry winter/spring.

The SOI has plunged from +14 to –13 in just over a month. Even the Bureau of Meteorology is now warning of El Nino in the second half of the year. This little leaf blowing in the wind saw it coming months ago.

Cold seas are already dominating the east coast of Australia, and a big slug of cold sea is moving across under Australia, this is very likely to kill the autumn/winter rainfall that the weakening southern air tide is trying to produce. (The air tides get a little weaker every year until 2020 which is the driest part of this 18.6 year lunar declination cycle, otherwise known as the flood and drought cycle.)

Once June has passed there is very little chance of any river filling rains until the next La Nina gets organized, which is not due until 2017. That one is normally the weakest one in the 18.6-year cycle.

If the climate cycle runs true to form you will be able to walk across the Murray mouth, later this decade without getting your feet wet once again. And you will be able to see large 200 year-old dead tree stumps in many of Australia’s deepest dry holes.

Regards Kevin Long

map moon sun

The map shows the position of the sun and the moon relative to the earth at about the time I made this blog post. The day and night world map can be accessed by clicking here…


23 Responses to Mega-Drought for Murray Darling, Predicted by Kevin Long

  1. handjive of March 22, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    Australia stands ready to ‘weather’ anything the cosmic forces can throw at us.

    We have built wind farms and solar farms to appease the climate carbon-baggers.
    We have the most expensive carbon(sic) tax in the world for close to 3 years now.
    We have built Desalination plants where the dams are full.
    We have prepared religiously as Gaia has instructed.
    What can possibly go wrong?

    And finding two hundred year old tree stumps when the waters recede?
    It’s like finding tree stumps under receding glaciers.

    Another great post here @JM and sure to be re-posted as a reminder, like many others.

  2. spangled drongo March 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    This flat, drought-prone continent is no stranger to barred river mouths that seal up from time to time due to prolonged dry spells.

    As someone who was always entranced by river entrances, my coastal cruising always involved bumping my way in at the top of the tide, into a deep channel, only to find myself bar-bound and unable to get out if the tides neaped.

    You only have to look around this weathered old planet to realise that past weather was not always peaches and cream.

    The bit of dirt my house is on was formed 25 million years ago and is still there but some of the same stuff is a thousand miles away on a coastal island.

    The droughts, floods, storms etc of our unrecorded ancestors, as with temperature and sea levels have been forever fluctuating far beyond our present comfort zone.

    Why should the future be any different?

    A bit of ACO2GW could be the best insurance.

  3. Glen Michel March 22, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    Too right as proponents of catastrophism(man-made) have a convenient lack of reference when it comes to the grander picture.Up here on the cusp of New England and NW slopes the Namoi has been a chain of waterholes- such as I have not seen in my 50 odd years of observations;can it get any worse? Maybe or maybe not- one can’t tell as it depends on a propitious inflow from the Indian Ocean-negative IOD.Time and time again.If it fails then a similar scenario to Sturts entries about the Darling being too salty in 1826 for any purpose

  4. Glen Michel March 22, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    Apologies for the syntax!

  5. Hasbeen March 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

    Way back in the late 60s or early 70s a researcher at the Sydney Museum showed me some stuff on the barrier reef cores they were working on.

    Just before Captain Cook cruised the reef, they found a period of 27 years when virtually no sediment from the Fitzroy reached it. He said it was the worst, but not the only drought longer than anything since settlement.

    His statement was, “when we get the next one of these, it will be interesting to see how much survives”. Not everyone agreed that a drought in the Fitzroy basin would effect NSW, but it has appeared to since I started checking.

    I am about to fill my dam starting tomorrow, before the river gets below harvesting level. To be doing this in a hurry, at the very time when my damn, & the river should be at their highest does tend to agree with Kevin Longs forecast.

    Thank god I’m not trying to de anything useful on the place. My 28 year old show jumper is the last animal on the place, so I won’t have to worry about water or grass for much longer

  6. Another Ian March 23, 2014 at 6:31 am #

    Extremes from the other side of the rain gauge.

    The floods here of 2010 and 2012 could have been as high as any seen by Europeans. But there have probably been higher ones.

    We have a dam on the first gully out on the other side of the creek and you can see the bank from the house. There was about half a metre of it above flood water at the height.

    The house is on a cyprus pine sand ridge beside the creek, so the sand probably came out of there, as did other sand ridges along it – there is a very large one around two creek junctions nearby. And there would need to be about another metre of water to get to the top of the ridge here.

    Which would put the dam bank well under water and the creek well out on the other side where I doubt most Europeans have even thought of it going.

    Though Geoff Pickup (when at CSIRO Alice Springs) used to talk about paleo-floods.

  7. Robert March 23, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    The thing that alarmists have working for them is that when another 1902 or 1950 (to point to extremes in NSW) comes round again, most will have forgotten 1902 and 1950. I suppose it’s been said over and over on this site, but it’s worth repeating: so long as they emphasise and give plenty of colour to recent events people will be willing to overlook the fact that the “new” climate is very much the “old”. The only freak climate would be a stable one without extremes – but that’s not how we feel when we’re copping the extremes. The eventual extremes, though inevitable and thus “normal”, are rich ground for alarmists, who never seem to lack impudence.

    By the way, we know that the Hawkesbury can flood much worse than it has done in the last century and more. With the massive population now living in Western Sydney, an 1867 repeat would be pretty grim. Imagine how the climatariat would exploit it – and there is no reason we can’t get worse. A river known to rise that much in 1867 doesn’t have to confine itself to the 1867 mark. Here’s what the river can do:

    Bob Carr shelved plans for raising the Warragamba wall, apparently after taking one of his “bushwalks”. That could prove to be a very expensive stroll for Western Sydney.

  8. Beth Cooper March 23, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    Comments here exemplify the Michael Crichton quote
    about historical perspective.

  9. spangled drongo March 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    “1825 Edmund Lockyer of 57th Regiment explores Brisbane River. Notes flood debris 100 feet above river levels at Mount Crosby, finds first coal deposits. Names Redbank after soil colour.”

    That flood level was a couple of metres higher than the so called record of 1893 which was higher than 1974.

    There are certain to be historic droughts to match and possibly worse to come.

  10. Neville March 23, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    COULD be some heavy rainfall in a few days on the OZ east coast. SE Qld, NSW and perhaps heavy over E Vic. That’s the forecast so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  11. Debbie March 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Does look like a decent front coming through.
    Hopefully it will deliver in the right places.
    Don’t forget that where it rains is often more important than how much.

  12. Jennifer Marohasy March 23, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    I’m wondering how much hard evidence there is for a mega drought from 1790 to 1820 in the Murray Darling?

  13. Beth Cooper March 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    I will do a rain dance.Sometimes it works. (

  14. Robert March 24, 2014 at 12:23 am #

    Away from the MDB, there was enough rain before 1820 for Liz Macarthur to develop the wool industry in phenomenal fashion. Bad drought and heat right at the start, early 1790s, then drought maybe in 1797 and 1811. Also 1813? But there must have been good grass in many years, because the expansion of the wool flock and its quality was truly amazing. We know there was a lot of flooding in the first decade of the 1800s.

    As far as I know, the first extended MDB dry people knew much about was the 1820s, and it was in 1829 that Sturt found evidence of long drought in the MDB. But Oxley had a different, or at least varying, experience out there before 1820, which might raise some doubt about MDB mega-drought for that whole period. But it may have been drier before Mt Tambora and flooding in 1816-17. (Not that it had to be Tambora. Enough with the volcano explanations!)

    If there was a mega-drought in the MDB pre-1816 it wouldn’t surprise. Sadly, it’s hard to be surprised by any drought on this continent. The only thing which does surprise is the attempt to portray drought as a recent phenomenon of the “new climate”. That’s a bit reminiscent of Commissioner Norm Allen acting shocked that there was prostitution at Kings Cross.

  15. Mark March 24, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    Precautionary principle as the followed excuse by reasonable warmists also means that we should heed the Long view and immediately cease environmental flows from our dams to keep them as close to FSL as possible.

    Modern technology should be implemented to install pipelines in all our open main channels to eliminate water loss and maximize agricultural yields….

    As far as the environment agitation goes….if you want water in rivers, pray for rain enough to spill over the top of our precious dam storages.

  16. Debbie March 24, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    Yes Mark.
    The current mindset and prevailing culture is attempting to make the storage and regulatory systems do the EXACT OPPOSITE of their original purpose and hence their design.
    Those systems were put in place to help protect inland Australia from droughts . . .NOT(!) to enhance floods!

  17. jennifer March 27, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    Debbie et al.

    I’m back in Central Queensland… just south of Yeppoon… watched 400mm fall in about 30 hours…

  18. Robert March 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Some good rain news here and there!

    Grafton radar right at this moment is a thing of beauty.

  19. Debbie March 28, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    We have had over 70mls here in the last few days with more forecast.
    There have been decent falls in the catchment as well.
    Excellent Autumn break.
    Interestingly. . . BoM’s early predictions for Autumn were 75% probability of below average rainfall for the southern basin.

  20. Ian Wilson April 9, 2014 at 12:23 am #

    Please go and see the following graph on the Monthly Rainfall for Victoria between 1900 and 2014 and note the spike in the level of total monthly rainfall roughly ever 18.6 years throughout the whole time series :

    Notice the observed peaks in precipitation in the years:

    2010 & 2011
    1973 & 1974
    1955 & 1956
    1936 – weak or absent
    1916 & 1917

    This can be compared to the following years
    that are spaced backward in time by 18.6
    years from 2010.5:

    1991.9 ~ 1992
    1973.3 ~ 1973
    1954.7 ~ 1955
    1936.1 ~ 1936
    1917.5 ~ 1917

    Why can’t BOM see something that is staring them is the face?

  21. Ian Wilson April 9, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    You might want to look at these two papers as well:

    1. Wilson, I.R.G., Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric Tides in the Southern Hemisphere, The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, 2013, 7, 51-76

    2. Wilson, Ian R.G., 2009, Can We Predict the Next Indian Mega-Famine?, Energy and Environment, Vol 20, Numbers 1-2, pp. 11-24.

  22. Ian Wilson April 9, 2014 at 12:39 am #

    Here is another paper that might be of some interest:

    Wilson, I.R.G., Lunar Tides and the Long-Term Variation of the Peak Latitude Anomaly of the Summer Sub-Tropical High Pressure Ridge over Eastern Australia, The Open Atmospheric Science Journal, 2012, 6, 49-60.

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