Weather modification is the act of intentionally manipulating or altering the weather. The most common form of weather modification is cloud seeding to increase rain or snow, usually for the purpose of increasing the local water supply. Weather modification can also have the goal of preventing damaging weather, such as hail or hurricanes, from occurring; or of provoking damaging weather against an enemy or rival, as a tactic of military or economic warfare.
Humans have long sought to purposefully alter such atmospheric phenomena as clouds, rain, snow, hail, lightning, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and cyclones. Magical and religious practices to control the weather are attested in a variety of cultures, thousands of years before the modern era.
The modern era of scientific weather modification began in 1946 with work by Vincent J. Schaefer and Irving Langmuir at the General Electric Research Laboratories in Schenectady, New York. Schaefer discovered that when dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) pellets were dropped into a cloud composed of water droplets in a deep-freeze box, the droplets were rapidly replaced by ice crystals, which increased in size and then fell to the bottom of the box. The Schaefer-Langmuir experiments demonstrated that so-called supercooled clouds, namely those composed of water droplets at temperatures below freezing, could be dissipated. When the supercooled clouds were seeded with grains of dry ice, ice crystals formed and grew large enough to fall out of the clouds. The term used to define this method of weather modification is called cloud seeding.
Further studies found that certain substances other than dry ice can be used to seed clouds. For example, when silver iodide and lead iodide are burned, they create a smoke of tiny particles. These particles produce ice crystals in supercooled clouds below temperatures of about −5° C as the supercooled cloud droplets evaporate. The water vapor is then free to deposit onto the silver iodide or lead iodide crystals. Although many other materials can cause ice crystals to form, the above-mentioned are the most widely used. For the most part, dry ice is dispersed from airplanes, but silver iodide nuclei may be generated on the ground and carried upward by air currents, introduced from airplanes, or produced by pyrotechnic devices such as rockets or exploding artillery shells. Other documented cloud seeding substances include the use of aluminum oxide and barium.
Since the cloud seeding breakthroughs of the 1950s, other methods of manipulating the weather have been researched and applied. These include; fog dissipation, modifying the electricity in clouds, hail suppression, modifying the severity of storms and hurricanes, attempting to control storms and hurricanes. For the purposes of this website I will focus on military applications of weather modification which have been documented.
The first attempt to modify a hurricane began on October 13, 1947. This attempt was code named Project Cirrus. Project Cirrus was a collaboration of the General Electric Corporation, the US Army Signal Corps, the Office of Naval Research, and the US Air Force. An airplane flew along the rain bands of the hurricane, and dropped nearly 180 pounds (82 kilograms) of crushed dry ice into the clouds. The hurricane changed direction and made landfall near Savannah, Georgia. The public blamed the seeding on the United States government. Cirrus was canceled and lawsuits were threatened. This disaster set back the cause of seeding hurricanes for eleven years.
Operation Cumulus was the first military cloud seeding project run by the UK government. This operation was undertaken in the 1950s. The UK government wanted to investigate the advantages of weather manipulation for military purposes. The Royal Air Force (RAF) started to experiment with cloud seeding which involved pouring several different catalysts over clouds to induce heavy rains. The findings of this operation showed that cloud seeding provided the advantage of bogging down enemy movement and incrementing the water flow in rivers and streams to hinder or stop enemy crossings.
In the 1960s, Project Stormfury was enacted by the the United States Government as an attempt to weaken tropical cyclones by flying aircraft into them and seeding them with silver iodine. The hypothesis was that the silver iodide would cause supercooled water in the storm to freeze, disrupting the inner structure of the hurricane. This led to the seeding of several Atlantic hurricanes. However, it was later shown that this hypothesis was incorrect. In reality, it was determined most hurricanes do not contain enough supercooled water for cloud seeding to be effective.
Operation Popeye (also known as Project Popeye), was a US military cloud seeding operation during the Vietnam War, running from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972, which was intended to extend the monsoon season over Laos, specifically in areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The military seeded clouds with silver iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period an average of 30 to 45 days. The objective of Operation Popeye was to increase rainfall in carefully selected areas to deny the Vietnamese enemy, namely military supply trucks, the use of roads by; softening road surface, causing landslides along roadways, washing out river crossings and maintaining saturated soil conditions beyond the normal time span. The operation was considered relatively successful. The 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron carried out the operation to “make mud, not war.”
In 1976, one year after the Vietnam War, a treaty was signed in Geneva, Convention on the Prohibition of Military or any Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques. The treaty prohibits the hostile use of environmental modification techniques. I find it very difficult to find evidence of the use of weather modification for military purposes after that date because of the United Nations restrictions, however, there is enough evidence to substantiate that countries are continually advancing in this field.
The following statements are not clear proof of the existence of weather modification technology, but should be enough for us to begin questioning weather related disasters. Please refer to the “quotes” and “documents” sub section of this website for further evidence of the existence of advanced techniques which modify the weather.
Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025 – (Research paper presented to the United States Air Force)
“Weather modification offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary… Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of military technologies.”
In April 1997, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen stated in a United States Department of Defense news briefing that: (Source: Department of Defense News Briefing: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen)
“Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.”
Marc Filterman, a former French military officer, outlines several types of “unconventional weapons” using radio frequencies. He refers to “weather war,” indicating that the U.S. and the Soviet Union had already:
“mastered the know-how needed to unleash sudden climate changes (hurricanes, drought) in the early 1980s.”(3) These technologies make it “possible to trigger atmospheric disturbances by using Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radar [waves].”
Sourced: (Marc Filterman, Intelligence Newsletter, (December 16, 1999) (http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html)
The last documented manipulation of weather for military purposes was conducted forty years ago (Operation Popeye) and the calculator on my desk is faster than the computers that existed back then. What can they do with weather modification now? How far have governments advanced in this field?