‘Extraordinary Earth’ explores Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee is exploring 20 of the world's most beautiful and vulnerable places to understand how our changing climate is affecting the planet.
5:43 | 02/19/20

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Transcript for ‘Extraordinary Earth’ explores Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe
Back here on "Gma" it is time to kick off our brand-new series, "Extraordinary Earth" exploring 20 of the world's most fascinating and vulnerable places in 2020 celebrating the upmany -- upcoming 50th anniversary of Earth day. Ginger is live at Victoria falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Good morning again, ginger. Good morning to you, George. Mother nature is showing off. But she's also showing us something. Can I give you a look at these waterfalls from our drone? It really is spectacular. The world's largest sheets of falling water. You can see all the way down. It stretches more than a mile. The mist that comes out of this powerful water diving into that ravine can be seen for 30 miles around. But there is one angle that I can only get so close to but I can show you with another camera. Come with me here as I get sprayed by this mist. That drop-off where you're going to see a rainbow showing off for you is 354 feet. Yes. It is stunning. But it was also stunning what was happening here just a couple of months ago. Perhaps you saw this photo. It went viral and the headlines that came along with it said that Victoria falls was down to a trickle. Victoria falls drying up. Well, we're here to set the record straight. It's obviously alive and well. But it certainly has an important story to tell. It's one of the seven natural wonders of our world. Victoria falls or as the locals call it motsiatunia, the smoke that wonders. Joining us, national geographic photographer Nichole sobecki who has been documenting the effects of climate change in Africa. The falls are glorious. They're beautiful but they're not just eye candy. They are a life source for this They're really a barometer for the ecosystem. The river feeds into this fall and along the river are millions of people and animals like elephants, giraffe, Buffalo who rely on this water source. The drought in Zimbabwe in the fall that we had over 200 elephants that died from starvation because they couldn't access water. Reporter: Just this December, though, the future of the falls coming into question. Some of the lowest days of water flow on record and this photo went viral which led to reports claiming that Victoria falls was drying up. Obviously it isn't true and climate change cannot be attributed to one day or one snapshot but what you're seeing behind me is 12.5 million gallons per minute pouring over these waterfalls. That is still below their long-term average. I've seen increasingly frequent and extreme drought. Extreme weather events that are happening at a far greater frequency than we've ever seen before. Reporter: This doctor has been researching the falls for years. He found that while annual rain totals haven't changed much, the drier hotter seasons have gotten longer and the wet seasons have become more intense. We're getting a lot at one time and very little at another time. So the extremes are getting more extreme? Yes, the extremes are getting more extreme but we are experiencing more extremes more often than we ordinarily have and that's problematic. It's a problem to the people, the animals that depend on the river and also the economies that are actually dependent on this. Reporter: A phenomenon some scientists have called climate whiplash. Weather extremes that sobecki has witnessed through her lenses. Temperatures on the continent are rising faster than the global average and that's really transforming people's lives. The falls are so much more than just a beautiful thing to come and look at as a tourist but their most important function to purify this river and to sustain the millions of people and wildlife that rely on it to survive. Now, you know how passionate I am about the atmosphere but this story really brought in the compassion because it's about people, right, that live here and I got to meet with some of I know you've been here and seen the glory but this is such an important story. It is and I like how you say compassion and also the passion like that and, ginger, you have spoken about this and that climate whiplash. It is not only affecting there but also the wildfires in California and Australia too. Is that true? Yeah, I mean it's fascinating how interconnected everybody is and how this story really pops up in different places like California or Australia that have seen studies already relating their extended droughts to climate change. So it's everywhere. I mean, San Francisco, this month has not seen a drop of rain. This is usually their wettest or second wettest month so we're already headed into a moderate drought and we're really concerned about what that means for fire season in California coming up. I have to say, though, when it comes to fire, when it comes to extremes there are so many other issues not just climate change, of course, you have something like sustainable building we have to think about, there are multiprong issues like land management and wildfires but all something we have to think about. You are in your element as we see you, that majestic setting like that. Yeah. What do you have coming up in our next hour, ginger? You don't want to miss this. We're about to take you into an this place has such beauty but also has a lot to do including diving into a pool at the edge of the waterfall. I'm going to be there. You're going to swim with me. Swimming on the edge coming up right here on "Gma."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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