- SEATTLE, Washington, (ENS) - Someone is finally doing something about
the weather. As water authorities around a parched globe rush to contract
weather modification specialists to replenish depleted reservoirs for irrigation,
drinking water and hydroelectric generation, weather modification has become
a growth business.
- In the United States, at least 29 states
have licensed weather modification programs. Weather Modification Inc.
of Fargo, North Dakota has been working with the Kings River Conservation
District (KRCD) in California's Central San Joaquin Valley since 1954.
Responsible for one of the world's richest agricultural regions, the KCRD
water management agency has consistently contracted for cloud seeding above
the crucial Pine Flat Reservoir.
- According to Weather Modification Inc.
(WMI), "The program's objective is to increase precipitation efficiency
of clouds and storm systems crossing the watershed." WMI says that
artificially-induced rainfall in the Kings River Conservation District
replenishes groundwater depleted by heavy use, allowing uninterrupted hydroelectric
- Employing techniques little changed since
Dr. Vincent Schaefer undertook the first weather modification experiments
for General Electric in 1946, cloud seeding companies use aircraft or ground
generators to release silver iodide particles into clouds when temperature
and moisture are ripe for rain. Attracting clumps of moisture, the silver
iodide particles trigger formation of ice crystals which then fall as additional
rain or snow.
- TRC North American Weather Consultants
has conducted more than 200 weather modification projects to augment normal
snow or rainfall since 1950. Using radar and aircraft sensors to track
atmospheric changes, TRC works to refill reservoirs and generate snow for
ski resorts. The weather modification company also drops dry ice to dissipate
fog over busy airports.
- Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, TRC claims
that precipitation increases from its weather modification programs range
from 10 to 15 percent over normal rainfall in the wintertime northern hemisphere
areas to as much as 25 percent in tropical regions. A partial listing of
the company's cloud seeding operations conducted through 1994 includes
repeated application of silver iodide to rainclouds over Utah, California,
Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Oregon, Washington state, Iowa
and British Columbia. Similar projects have enhanced municipal water supplies
in Greece, Guatemala, Taiwan, Abu Dhabi, Jamaica and Mexico.
- An 18 member U.S. Weather Modification
Advisory Board established in April, 1977 has sought in vain to introduce
a national weather modification policy. The board's efforts have been hampered
by continuing uncertainties in weather prediction and weather's trans-border
aspects which have already sparked lawsuits from litigants claiming to
be harmed by floods resulting from weather modification.
- Besides the unpredictability of its effects,
cloud seeding's biggest drawback is that it requires clouds containing
enough moisture for silver iodide crystals to tip near-saturation into
rain or snow. Draining energy from budding hurricanes and hailstorms, or
creating rain from a clear blue sky are the twin grails of more ambitious
- Internationally recognized weather modification
expert Thomas Henderson founded Atmospherics, Inc. in 1960. En route to
Thailand from his Fresno, California headquarters to attend the World Meteorological
Organization's International Weather Modification Conference, Henderson
told ENS, "Within the weather modification ranks interest has always
existed regarding discovery and development of potentially improved seeding
- According to testimony before a House
subcommittee on Science and Technology in October, 1977 more than 60 countries
were enagaged in active weather modification at that time. A discussion
paper released at this early hearing called for "introducing perturbation
energies to redirect the atmosphere's 'natural' energies" using infusions
of chemical and electromagnetic energy.
- Two decades later, a U.S. Air Force research
study, "Weather as a Force Multiplier" outlines how powerful
"ionospheric heaters" and clouds generated by chemical condensation
trails - contrails - spread behind airborne tankers could allow U.S. aerospace
forces to "own the weather" by the year 2025. Military researchers
are already attempting to influence the weather "by adding small amounts
of energy at just the right time and space," the report stated.
- Array of HAARP antennas photographed
by the HAARPcam, February 22, 1999. Located in Gakon, Alaska, an experimental
U.S. Navy and Air Force ionospheric heater known as the High-Frequency
Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) has been projecting tightly-focused
beams of intense radio-frequency energy into the atmosphere for the past
- Bernard Eastlund, the inventor and original
patent-holder for HAARP, notes NATO interest in modifying the weather for
military advantage. In May, 1990 a NATO paper, "Modification of Tropospheric
Propagation Conditions" detailed how the atmosphere could be modified
to absorb electromagnetic radiation by spraying polymers behind high-flying
- Absorbing microwaves transmitted by HAARP
and other atmospheric heaters linked from Puerto Rico, Germany and Russia,
these artificial mirrors could heat the air, inducing changes in the weather.
- U.S. Patent 4253190 describes how a mirror
made of "polyester resin" could be held aloft by the pressure
exerted by electromagnetic radiation from a transmitter like HAARP.
- A Ph.D. polymer researcher who wishes
to remain anonymous told this reporter that if HAARP's frequency output
is matched to Earth's magnetic field, its tightly-beamed energy could be
imparted to molecules "artificially introduced into this region."
This highly reactive state could then "promote polymerization and
the formation of new compounds," he explained.
- According to Eastlund, two U.S. companies
make polymer products with microwave-absorbing properties. Heat generation
need to modify the weather can be fostered by adding magnetic iron oxide
powder to polymers exuded by high-flying aircraft. Radio-frequency-absorbing
polymers such as Phillips Ryton F-5 PPS are sensitive in the 1-50 MHz regime,
Eastlund pointed out. HAARP transmits between two and 10 MHz.
- Former Raytheon missile engineer Tommy
Farmer has been collecting samples from the strangely lingering contrails
covering U.S. skies for the past two years. "The chemist I had originally
engaged to analyze the material, during microscopic exam, had noticed yellow
orange orbs impregnated into the filaments of the material," Farmer
told ENS. Looking for living pathogens, the researchers discounted the
non-organic material. "In retrospect," Farmer muses, "I
must wonder if the orange yellow orbs might be an oxidizing ferrous alloy
as described in Dr. Eastlund's commentary."
- While admitting that an atmospheric mirror
could be made from existing polymers, weather expert Henderson told ENS,
"I'm not too sure a required very large mirror could be held aloft
by strongly focused RF energy. Right now the amount of heat required to
alter the weather far exceeds any realistic system I can imagine."
- HAARP's U.S. Air Force and Navy sponsors
claim that their transmitter will eventually be able to produce 3.6 million
watts of radio frequency power. But on page 185 of an October, 1991 "Technical
Memorandum 195" outlining projected HAARP tests, there is a call by
the ionospheric effects division of the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory
for HAARP to reach a peak power output of 100 billion watts. Commercial
radio stations commonly broadcast at 50,000 watts.
- A bigger objection to HAARPs ability
to hurt the weather comes from the Ph.D. polymer researcher interviewed
above, who points out that jet tankers normally cruise at 10 kilometers
(6.2 miles) altitude. "I don't know if it is possible to create this
[artificially heated] region so close to the ground. None of the patents
I have looked at are claiming anything less than 50 kilometers (31 miles).
Furthermore, at the 10 kilometer height, it is hard to see how HAARP would
have anything to do with effects seen in the lower 48 states."
- Whatever the reasons, this winter has
produced some of the wackiest weather ever seen over the United States.
Usually a hot weather phenomenon, dozens of wintertime tornadoes have struck
Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama this year. On February 11-12,
temperatures in Chicago, Dayton, Charleston, Indianapolis and other cities
ricocheted between the low seventies and the twenties, with overnight snow
falling in some of those cities basking in sunlight during the day.
- While temperature records are normally
broken by no more than a tenth of a degree, the World Meteorological Organization
reports global temperatures up more than 0.6 degrees Celsius since the
end of the last century.
- As Pacific hurricanes packing 220 mile-per-hour
winds introduce a new Category 6 into storm lexicons, tropical mahi mahi
and marlin are being caught off the coast of Washington state.
- Department of Energy researchers Alan
Schroeder and David Bassett note that 15 weather-related disasters in the
U.S. since 1992 have cost $70 billion in damages and several hundred deaths
from floods, heat waves, hurricanes, blizzards and hail storms.
- With HAARP shut down for February and
not scheduled for reactivation until March, 1999, the race is on to modify
climate being brought to a boil by carbon emissions generated by burning
fossil fuels, methane releases from melting permafrost and record levels
of heat-trapping cloud cover. Despite exotic technologies and squadrons
of cloud-seeding aircraft, the people doing the most to change the weather
may be us.
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Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All Rights Reserved.