It's true that jet airplanes are larger, have more powerful engines and fly more frequently than ever... about 700 million passenger flights per year in the US alone.
For each gallon of jet fuel burned, aircraft produce a gallon of steam, because H2O is one of the two chemical byproducts resulting from the combustion of hydrocarbons. Current jet fuel use is about 60 billion gallons per year.
At the sub-zero temperatures where contrails form, steam from the exhaust freezes and expands to about a hundred times its sea-level volume in the low air pressure of the stratosphere. 60 billion gallons of fuel = 60 billion gallons of water = approximately 10 trillion cubic feet of steam producing ice crystal clouds.1
But there's more to artificial clouds than just water.
Weather modification means cloud seeding with silver iodide (AgI)— hygroscopic metallic aerosols that provide a dense field of cloud condensation nuclei (CCNs) to thicken clouds and induce precipitation. Condensation nuclei are the basis of cloud development. When mixed with moisture, silver iodide promotes cloud formation by providing CCNs that jet exhaust moisture can bond with. The invisible cloud-seeding chemicals are dispersed in the atmosphere at around 20,000 feet, in front of incoming moisture fronts, enhancing contrails from jet air traffic and often spawning cloud cover prior to the storm's arrival.
Silver iodide aerosols are invisible once dispersed, and the contrails from the planes burning the flares are minimal and usually disappear because these are small jets that are already at their cruising altitude; that is, using relatively little fuel. However, when large aircraft ascend through the seeded fields of silver iodide at these higher altitudes, their contrails become instantly visible. The extreme photosensitivity of the crystalline-shaped silver iodide aerosols combine with the highly-reflective ice crystals from the exhaust to form bright white contrail wakes behind the plane that tend to persist rather than disperse.
Weather modification companies use fleets of jets and high-altitude propeller planes that have flares fixed to the wings of the aircraft. When the flares burn, they release silver iodide, a salt-based chemical (potassium iodide and silver nitrate), which provides abundant cloud condensation nuclei to spawn and thicken clouds.
Cloud seeders ignite as many flares as possible before incoming storms in order to maximize precipitation. There are other less common applications for cloud seeding, such as breaking up hailstorms with surfactants in order to reduce damage, but precipitation enhancement is the primary reason for weather modification.
In the United States, county governments are typically the ones who hire weather modification companies to seed clouds. The programs are designed to enhance precipitation and increase water supplies. These ongoing precipitation enhancement projects are typically paid for by consumers through a Public Purpose Program surcharge on their utility bills.
Local governments see cloud seeding as a good value for obtaining additional water; other sources are more costly, if any are even available.
Some states have had legal disputes about cloud seeding, including New York, Oklahoma, Washington, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Texas and California.
Dry states in the US like California have seeded the atmosphere with silver iodide every year since the 1960s. Other states have caught on and, as the worldwide water shortage begins to affect more and more cities, the weather modification industry has expanded drastically over the past few decades.
Counties in these U.S. states have conducted and/or still conduct extended cloud-seeding programs:
Most other states have also experimented with weather modification. (For more, just Google "precipitation enhancement" or "cloud seeding" plus your state.)
As global water supplies diminish, few alternatives exist to provide enough water for growing populations and increasing agricultural needs. Just as most western states in the US conduct ongoing cloud seeding programs for precipitation enhancement, almost any country you can name uses cloud seeding to increase rainfall and snowpack that keeps rivers flowing through the summer, including Europe, South America, the Middle East, Asia and even Australia. China seeds the clouds in over 2,000 counties.
The massive amounts of cloud condensation nuclei result in thicker, more persistent contrails, more artificial clouds and hazy skies over Earth's northern hemisphere.
Cloud seeding with AgI began in the 1960s; "climate variation" concerns started in the 1970s.
Like natural clouds, artificial clouds can drastically affect the weather: In the daytime they block the sun, creating shade and reflecting some solar radiation back into space. But at night, clouds have a blanketing effect that keeps warm air trapped.
The coldest nights are usually cloudless ones since the heat can escape from the Earth. Clouds also absorb and re-emit heat, so cloud cover makes it even warmer at night. Warmer air also means higher pressure, and high pressures can also help repel some storms, preventing rain.
When a moisture front presents itself, cloud seeding companies go into action, dispersing silver iodide in front of the incoming storm... specifically, over areas of land where precipitation is desired. These hygroscopic aerosols provide a field of CCNs for jet exhaust moisture to bond with and, combined with the higher ice crystal saturation that comes from moisture preceding the storm, aircraft can spawn thick clouds before the storm clouds arrive.
This creates a shady area in the path of the incoming front, providing a low-pressure "downhill run" for the storm. In fact, this can allow some precipitation to arrive that would otherwise be repelled by higher pressure.
Visible contrail clouds begin to form when jets reach a high enough altitude— around 25,000 feet— and tend to stop when the plane reaches its cruising altitude, where the ice crystal saturation is lower and the jet is using less fuel.
In the United States, weather typically moves across the country from left to right with the jet stream. This means storms we intensify in the western states tend to flow toward the eastern states. Through precipitation enhancement programs, we thicken and accelerate storms, which continue eastward with the winds... along with the extra cloud condensation nuclei we introduce into the atmosphere to enhance precipitation.
How often do the western states seed the clouds? Every time there's potential for rain or snow. We need the water. But who is aware of the downstream consequences?
Recently scientists found that stratospheric water vapor destroys ozone. This is troubling because in addition to adding CO2 directly into the upper atmosphere, jet aircraft inject their water vapor into the lower stratosphere where the ozone layer helps protect the Earth from solar radiation.
In addition, our heavy cloud seeding practices using salt-based material may temporarily inhibit evaporation in some areas by increasing the surface salinity of water bodies that provide the humidity for cloud formation.
Just like road flares, which also contain toxic metals, cloud seeding flares have to burn in wet, high-wind conditions.
Besides silver nitrate and potassium iodide (an inorganic salt chemical) cloud seeding flares contain incendiary chemicals and metals that are toxic to living things, including aluminum, strontium and magnesium.
Artificial clouds change the Earth's weather.
The Vonnegut Climate Change Theory holds that:
The "Vonnegut Connection" was first noted in the 2012 documentary Skywatcher.
Read more in this PDF.
Mostly from interviews with NASA scientists, cloud seeding professionals, meteorologists and other scientists (some of whom may disagree with, or be unaware of, some of the findings in this report) as well as extensive government and publicly-documented information.
See more sources underneath the SKYWATCHER video below.
There are two parts to this problem: jet aircraft traffic and weather modification activities; the combined elements create significant cloud cover over the northern hemisphere of the Earth.
Currently, there is no way to prevent air traffic. We need it, and it rises every year, and will continue to inject CO2 and H2O into the atmosphere. In the future, alternative technologies are the hope.
The other part, our ongoing weather modification practices, have increased alongside CO2 production, energy use, water supply decline, storms and floods. The only way to know how much these precipitation enhancement programs contribute to cloud formation and abundance is to stop it entirely. This would require a worldwide moratorium which would be difficult to achieve... but must be the goal. This will ultimately happen through legal venues, perhaps one state at a time. (See question 19 below.)
|The primary reason is probably that so few people ever notice or think about the sky. Scientists can only consider the information they have, and climatologists focus on their specialized research areas. While climatologists aleady know that contrail clouds affect the climate, most are completely unaware of how much weather modification activity has expanded over the past few decades. Dots have not been fully connected, and people who object publicly and loudly are most often misinformed... and sometimes even sound crazy.|
Ask any kind of expert; most have no idea how many weather modification programs are in place in the US, how many other countries worldwide use weather modification practices, how many flares are burned each year in the atmosphere to enhance precipitation, what the flares contain, or how often we use them. Yet we use them around the world on a regular basis to directly modify the weather.
No. The term geo-engineering implies intent to manipulate the climate, and the prolific and ongoing weather modification (cloud-seeding) programs are not intended to manipulate the climate... only to increase precipitation.
While we are currently inadvertently changing the climate, as used in contemporary science "geo-engineering" refers almost entirely to two concepts: solar radiation management (SRM) and CO2 removal (since reducing CO2 emissions enough to make an impact isn't realistic). Since we currently have no practical way to remove and sequester carbon dioxide on the massive scale required to make an impact, the focus is on SRM.
SRM is the only viable means climatologists see to decrease the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth, and the only way to do it we've come up with so far is to add sulfur dioxide aerosols into the stratosphere using aircraft.
By contrast, current weather modification programs use salt-based silver iodide aerosols (silver nitrate and potassium iodide, an inorganic white salt) to create extremely hygroscopic material that helps to thicken moisture-bearing clouds and create more rain and snow.
Geo-engineering is a prospective climate remediation plan; while tests have probably been conducted, proposals made, and patents in place... weather modification programs have been going on for over half a century, and are increasing.
|Yes. But the word chemtrails is charged with unscientific connotations, and though it may be accurate in a literal sense, the word contributes to misinterpretations that are not helpful in conveying the problem accurately. ("Chemtrails" technically usually refers to weaponized air spraying, which is banned by international treaty.)|
It varies. The stratosphere is at different altitudes at different parts of the world (lower at the poles), and every single day on the
Earth is different and unique. Temperatures, winds and humidity change constantly and irregularly. However, in general,
contrail clouds form at high enough altitudes to be cold enough, when relative humidity (ice crystal saturation) is high enough.
At mid-latitudes, this typically happens above around 20,000 feet, but below about 30,000 feet, where there is
less moisture and cloud-forming nuclei. Contrails generally form on ascent, when the jet is using the most
fuel and creating the most water vapor.
(People who report observing "apparently much lower" contrails are most likely mis-estimating the altitude; contrails can often look much lower than they really are, and do not normally form at 5,000 feet as some have claimed. However, this is theoretically possible at the poles and, as with most of these answers, there may be other exceptions.)
By contrast, tropospheric clouds that produce rain and snow are generally much lower, so artificial clouds can provide an additional layer of atmospheric insulation to trap nighttime heat more effectively.
That depends partly on the incoming moisture front. Cloud seeding only works when enough moisture is present, and the seeding aircraft ignite their AgI flares anywhere from above 5,000 feet to 40,000 feet. Most commonly, according to weather modification professionals interviewed, they seed at 18,000 to 22,000 feet.
The invisible, hygroscopic aerosols expand swirl around with the winds (just like CO2 gas), providing a field of highly-concentrated cloud condensation nuclei for jet exhaust moisture to combine with to form clouds that "stick."
*If there is no chance of rain anywhere near your state, no cloud seeding activity will occur. However, this doesn't necessarily mean an absence of silver iodide aerosols, because these particles can travel to neighboring areas and affect cloud formation to varying degrees. The best way to predict where cloud seeding events will take place is to look for incoming moisture fronts on a satellite weather map.
|As far as the winds blow them. Aerosols are known to travel from China to the United States. In the US, winds carry the aerosols eastward (from the dry western states that conduct cloud seeding programs on a regular basis).|
|No. Mostly they just go unnoticed and are seemingly disconnected from climate studies. Even climatologists, meteorologists and pilots don't seem to be aware of how prolific these programs are, and how many cloud-making flares we burn every year through this still-growing industry.|
Outside of war, asteroids and solar-X flares, the greatest danger facing humanity today is probably the potential for mass starvation. Lack of food results from inadequate water supplies to support crop production. According to all estimates, our growing population will require a LOT more food in the coming decades... but our water supplies are diminishing, and about 80% of our water is used for agriculture.
Local governments from populated or farming areas that require more water believe they can increase their water supplies with cloud seeding programs. Equally important is the fact that other water sources are often unavailable or far more expensive than precipitation enhancement programs.
Here are some private companies providing cloud seeding services:
It's also important to note that A) not all cloud seeding is done by private companies; much is done by local governments (e.g., SW Texas Rain Enhancement) or utilities (e.g., Snowy Hydro, SMUD) that conduct their own cloud seeding events, and B) many cloud seeding companies keep a low profile and don't have websites; some are civil engineering companies that may provide a range of services. (Budget sources for the weather modification programs in other countries were not examined for this report.)
No one knows for sure and there is plenty of debate
about its positive and negative impact. Weather modification companies claim they can provide more rainfall and snowpack, which
cost-justifies the cloud seeding projects. (Less commonly, aircraft attempt to break up hailstorms to reduce damage, but precipitation enhancement programs
probably constitute 99% of weather modification events.)
To whatever degree this is true, the weather must be affected as some factor of that increased precipitation; increased cloud cover affects the weather.
The real question is how many of these events it would take to affect the weather globally.
Complicating that question is the fact that there are different kinds of cloud seeding, any of which introduces many variables into determining effectiveness or impact. In the context of making rain, static cloud seeding tries to enhance the precipitation efficiency of clouds; the dynamic mode approach attempts to vertically process more water through the clouds, which requires more cloud seeding aerosols. Hygroscopic seeding is how we tend to think of "cloud seeding:" releasing tiny salt particles (under 100 micrometers) into the base of warmer clouds. In addition, ground-based cloud seeding is often conducted in mountain areas (orographic cloud seeding).
|Yes. If environmental conditions are right (cold enough with high ice crystal saturation/condensation nuclei) contrails will be visible. Contrails and artificial are simply enhanced by weather mod programs that routinely introduce additional CCNs into the atmosphere.|
It's hard to be sure. Contrails can develop simply because of high humidity (ice crystal saturation levels), which can be caused by other factors such as massive forest fires. However, in the western US, a high level of ice crystal saturation often means there's a possibility of precipitation.
If you see heavy contrails, look at a satellite map and you'll probably see that there's been moisture somewhere near your state in the past few days. If a chance of rain is predicted, cloud seeding aircraft will fill the atmosphere with silver iodide aerosols. It's their job to induce as much precipitation as possible.
Aerosols swirl around with the weather, and cloud seeding can affect areas nearby to varying degrees. If you live east of Texas, you're regularly getting a lot of silver iodide aerosols from cloud seeding activity to the west.
Of course, there's no way to corral silver iodide aerosols once they are released, and many places in the US and around the world seed the atmosphere regularly.
In the 1970s, when the Department of Transportation reported that aircraft were causing "inadvertent climate variation." The Department of Commerce reported it to the US Congress, who declared it an issue of national security.
Learn more about this history in the video below.
Net radiative heat effect is only a small part of cloud-energy and cloud-aerosol interaction. NASA's calculations on total global cloud cover and radiative effect don't seem to account for the additional layer of high clouds above the "normal" layer of tropospheric clouds. This double-insulation effect means heat is trapped in the atmosphere more effectively so ground temperatures stay higher at night, and start out higher the next day.
We know from NASA's recent studies that the highest cirrus clouds are formed around nuclei of "metallic aerosols and mineral dust," which are the ingredients of cloud seeding flares used regularly for weather modification in almost every western state in the US and in countries worldwide.
Like CO2, the silver iodide cloud condensation nuclei from global precipitation enhancement programs swirl around in the atmosphere and reach high altitudes. Like CO2, silver iodide chemicals used for cloud seeding around the world are now a constant part of the upper atmosphere.
Unlike CO2, these aerosols facilitate the formation of high clouds that directly affect temperatures, pressures, winds and storms.
It was John Holdren, the long-time White House science advisor (for Democratic and Republic administrations), who later declared that the cause of global warming is CO2. And there's strong evidence to that effect; correlative data, experimental data and the increasing CO2 that apparently stays trapped in the upper atmosphere indefinitely.
However, connecting this evidence to specific weather patterns or predicting weather events is complex and involves many variables, and the truth is, we don't know exactly how much CO2 causes changes in the weather or climate.
H2O, on the other hand, is extremely heat-conductive and traps far more heat energy than CO2... and water crystallizes and forms clouds that immediately affect temperatures, pressures and winds.
This study and report is an independent, non-profit project and has no affiliation with any company, group or government.
The producer, Dave Dahl, is an American researcher and Web developer who co-founded Web Associates (now part of Rosetta), Placemark One, a digital agency, and Cryptografx, an Internet security company. A former Navy swimmer and navigator, his background includes training in weather observation and geological sciences. He first noticed complete-area cloud cover from aircraft in Santa Barbara, California 1994, and has been studying artificial clouds since 2004.
In 2007, he published Contrails, Chemtrails and Artificial Clouds: A Situation Report, which was sent to every US Senator as well as many members of the US Congress.
Special thanks to:
Since cloud cover affects the climate, and weather modification affects cloud cover and weather patterns, climatologists should be discussing the impact of weather modification on the climate.
Climatologists and other scientists surveyed so far do not know:
Therefore, one goal is to raise awareness of ongoing weather modification programs among scientists, especially climatologists and organizations that can contribute to further studies of aircraft-spawned clouds and the consequences of global precipitation enhancement programs. Awareness in the scientific community could help to validate these findings and better quantify the effects of weather modification programs on clouds and the climate.