Opinion: Chemtrails, Contrails and Weather Modification

Recently a friend posted a video on Facebook (attached to the end of this article) titled Chemtrails – Here is your PROOF 100% Real MUST WATCH. As a sceptic myself, I tend to get frustrated with conspiracy theories, the chemtrails phenomena being one of them. The presentation given in the video itself was interesting however. It prompted me to do some more research into weather modification, and whether there was any recent evidence that chemtrails or contrails had any impact on the environment.

Contrails over San Francisco as seen from the International Space Station
Contrails over San Francisco as seen from the International Space Station

What are Contrails?

Contrails are line-shaped clouds sometimes produced by aircraft engine exhaust, typically at altitudes several miles above the Earth’s surface. Contrails are composed primarily of water, in the form of ice crystals, but can contain impurities in the jet exhaust from the fuel, including sulfur compounds. The combination of water vapor in aircraft engine exhaust and the low ambient temperatures that often exists at these high altitudes allows the formation of the trails. Persistent contrails are of particular interest to scientists because they increase the cloudiness of the atmosphere. The resulting cloud forms may resemble cirrus, cirrocumulus, or cirrostratus, and are sometimes called “cirrus aviaticus”. Effectively, we can classify contrails as a type of man-made cloud.

How could Jet Contrails change the weather?

From Wikipedia:

“The near-total shutdown of civil air traffic during the three days following the September 11, 2001 attacks afforded a unique opportunity in which to observe the climate of the United States absent from the effect of contrails. During this period, an increase in diurnal temperature variation of over 1 °C (1.8 °F) was observed in some parts of the U.S., i.e. aircraft contrails may have been raising nighttime temperatures and/or lowering daytime temperatures by much more than previously thought.”

Source: NATURE Magazine, Volume 418, 8 August 2002

This fits in with the Cloud Feedback effect. Some types of clouds cause warmer temperatures due to the greenhouse effect, while others cool things down by increasing the planet’s albedo. The net change right now is that it slightly cools the planet. One thing scientists aren’t sure on is whether that as global warming ramps up, the Cloud Feedback effect will switch from cooling to warming. Likewise with the jet contrails. They appear to “even out” the overall temperature change from day to night. They are impacting temperature, but don’t seem to cause the overall temperature to increase noticeably

We know that cirrus clouds (the wispy high-altitude ones) increase temperatures by allowing heat through, and reflecting it back to the surface (greenhouse effect), whereas lower altitude clouds tend to block the heat from the sun. As mentioned above, jet contrails are more likely to act like cirrus clouds, which would in theory cause warming. However, I’m not sold on the fact that it will impact the global climate, since I don’t think the effect of contrails covers enough of the planet to have a global effect. It may impact regional micro-climates though.


Regarding Ionosphere Modification and geo-engineering; firing chemicals into the upper atmosphere can’t be good in my opinion. The intent is to see whether it will increase the planet’s albedo and cool the planet down. Reducing global carbon emissions is probably a better bet than trying to artificially modify the atmosphere. We know that less pollution will definitely help. Geo-engineering appears to be still mostly trial and error.

The discussion of this sort of research is the “100% Real” part of the presentation in the video. There is plenty of documented evidence around of weather control or modification experiments going back many decades. Recently the research has focused more on alternatives for reversing or mitigating global warming and man-made climate change. There is no elaborate conspiracy to cover up this research, although I admit that it appears that some researchers may have financial motives in mind (banking carbon credits etc.). Some researchers may be turning a blind-eye to the literal environmental “fall-out” which has resulted from these experiments. However the actual link between this legitimate, but potentially damaging, research and aircraft contrails is in my opinion tenuous at best.

Image purporting to show the effect of chemtrails
Image purporting to show the effect of chemtrails in Switzerland.

What are Chemtrails?

From Wikipedia:

The chemtrail conspiracy theory is the unproven belief that long-lasting trails, so-called “chemtrails”, are left in the sky by high-flying aircraft and that they consist of chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed for sinister purposes undisclosed to the general public. Believers in the theory argue that normal contrails dissipate relatively quickly and that contrails that do not dissipate must contain additional substances.

The reported purpose of these chemical sprays varies from theorist to theorist. Some speculate that the goal is population control; some say it’s climate modification; others say it’s military weapons testing. In the context of the video below, they are linking the effects specifically to weather modification.

However, what they’re talking about in the video isn’t really Chemtrails. The speaker is Rosalind Peterson, California President and Co-Founder of the Agriculture Defense Coalition (ADC) and founder of SkyWatch. She has said in recent years that she has no proof that persistent jet contrails contain chemicals intended to modify the atmosphere. She does however have proof of the various geo-engineering experiments which are deliberate attempts at atmospheric modification. I think it’s important to remember that persistent jet controls are not CHEMtrails and shouldn’t be confused with atmospheric modification experiments, which are completely separate and 100% real.

I think that’s where a lot of the confusion comes in, and why sceptics give chemtrail conspiracy theorists such a hard time. There ARE weather modifying chemicals being shot into the atmosphere, just not from jet planes (apart from the burning of jet-fuel, which is run-of-the-mill pollution).

In conclusion

Weather modification is real, not a conspiracy theory. It is also probably not very good for the environment. No debate on that point! But I do not believe that jet contrails (persistent or otherwise) are deliberate weather modification. They may however be an example of accidental weather modification.



Note: This article represents the opinions of the author and does not reflect the opinions of all members of Haunted Auckland.



Original Video

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