Not including the works of Indian rain dancers, magical spells or witches brews, weather modification is not new and attempts and theories have been around since about 1901. Attempts on artificial stimulation of rain or snow, storm prevention, hurricane modification, prevention of cyclones, and preventing hail storms has been occurring for some time, with some successes but mostly failures.
Most of the success has been in the field of changing precipitation by the way of cloud seeding. This is accomplished by attaching flares containing chemicals to the wings of aircarft, which when ignited by the pilot burn for about 4 to 5 minutes. The flares usually contain silver iodide and these particles are dispersed into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which causes it to rain. This can be helpful in times of drought, like it was in 2007 for Texas, who employed the use of this technique. This can also be accomplished with dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), sea salt, or liquid propane. This does not necessarily have to be commercial aircarft, for even a small Cessna plane could carry out the job. Even cloud seeding by trees could alter precipitation, says an article at American Scientist. Below is a list of weather modifications since the early 1900s.
WEATHER MODIFICATION SUCCESSES AND FAILURES:
1) In 1901, hail cannons were used at the International Congress of hail shooting. Some say, this practice is actually older than that, as it had been used by 19th century farmers in an attempt to ward off hail. Claiming to be a shock wave generator, hail cannons have been used as recent as 2006. There is no scientific evidence that this actually worked at any time in history.
2) Cloud Busting of the 1930’s was a theory by Wilhelm Reich to manipulate the altering levels of atmospheric orgone energy in order to create rain. He even developed a device called a cloudbuster to shoot into the sky from land, but there is no scientific proof that this actually worked.
3) While working at GE, Vincent Schaefer performed some tests at the Schenectady Research Lab in New York and by mid year of 1946 he had stumbled upon the answer to cloud seeding. Then on November 13th, 1946 he left Schenectady County airport with dry ice and headed to Mount Greylock in western Massachusetts and was able to create snowfall.
4) Project Cirrus was the 1st large study of cloud physics and the 1st attempt to modify a hurricane. It was a collaboration of the the US Army Signal Corps, the US Air Force, the Office of Naval Research, and General Electric (GE) for their October 13, 1947 project. The crew reported that the cloud had been successfully seeded and the hurricane changed directions, however they could not prove that this was due to their efforts or nature.
5) More Cloud Seeding experiments from 1947 to the mid 1960’s were conducted by Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). Only the experiments in the Snowy Mountains netted significant rainfall.
6) “Project Cumulus” between 1949 and 1952 was an operation of the United Kingdom government and jokingly known as Operation Witch Doctor, which experimented with cloud seeding. Some may say it was successful because it did rain, while others say it was a disaster, which may have caused the Lynmouth Flooding in North Devon (UK).
7) The “1962 Flagstaff Cumulus Project” June 9, 1962, which some call the BATON project modified select storms with respects to cloud seeding. This included theoretical and laboratory development as well as field tests in Flagstaff Arizona. The unclassified report was available in pdf to the public for some time on the internet in the “Study and Modification of Convective Storms” Report No. 2, Contract No. DA 36-039 SC-89066, Order No. 265-62, Project Code No. 8900, Dept. of the Army Project 3A99-Z7..005-06.
8) “Project Stormfury” from 1962 to 1983 was a US project to weaken tropical cyclones. It was not successful on cyclones or hurricanes, but they also studied cumulus clouds and that hypothesis too was invalidated. However some say that Stormfury was mildly succcessful at helping improve meteorologists’ ability to forecast future hurricanes intensity and movement. Mostly however it was seen as a “failure microphysically and not statistically feasible”, per Wikipedia. In 1958, a similar project was done using soot.
Other uses of weather modification:
Although changing precipitation to bring rain has been the primary objective, the same process of cloud seeding has been used for suppression of fog and hail at airports. At one point, weather warfare was used by the United States during the Vietnam War to extend the monsoon season over Laos and flood the Ho Chi Mihn Trail. This was “Operation Popeye”, a US military cloud seeding project and a somewhat successful military tactic.
Later the Geneva Convention of May 18th, 1977 put measures in place to ban “weather warfare”, however some say that the way it is written is debateable and that it is not just plain black and white, but it leaves alot of grey (gray) area. It is that gray area that one could work to manipulate, just like the weather. The United Nations supposedly also bans the use of weather warfare.
Some conspiracy theorists are concerned that Chemtrails, the lines left by planes producing water vapor is using dangerous chemicals and that people are now manipulating the weather for bad, rather than just modifying the weather for the good. Belfort “Case Orange” and HAARP Research Station near Gakona Alaska are also cases in point says conspiracy theorists. The HAARP actually has an Aurora Borealis over it that can be seen at night, so just imagine what else it could do, says theorists. They believe the weather is being controlled in order to bring disasters on enemies of the USA. Even former President of Cuba, Fidel Castro voiced his concern that Project Stormfury was an attempt to weatherize hurricanes. I will leave it up to you as to whether these are really conspiracy theories or not.
Nucleation, electrification, hydrometeor development, storm dynamics, and cloud physics are still studied, so there is a vested interest in it. It is entirely possible that one day weather modification will become more successful everytime with precision, instead of the occasional CSIRO’s Snowy Mountains experiment and that of GE’s Schaefer. In the future, everyday could be a Ho Chi Minh trail.
Photo: Public Domain NOAA Gov on Commons