When the heat from engine exhaust hits freezing temperatures at 30,000 or 40,000 feet, the result is ice particles and other condensation that form contrails.
However, over the past 15 years contrails have become a topic of discussion as more eyes turn to the skies questioning the number of contrails and their staying power. Scientists explain that this is quite normal, but conspiracy theorists believe some formations are something more diabolical, chemtrails. (1)
Contrail or Chemtrail?
The contrail versus chemtrail controversy has flooded the Internet since the late 1990s.
The chemtrail conspiracy theories state that the US government is spraying harmful chemicals from military jets that emulate contrails. These ever-present contrails fill the skies over America and last abnormally for several hours eventually widening in a stream that spreads into a massive cloud.
Contrails Shouldn’t Last for Hours
It’s important to understand that the type of contrail left behind depends on the altitude of the jet or plane, the air temperature and the level of humidity.
The fluctuation in atmospheric conditions causes some contrails to disappear almost instantly while others can linger for several hours and some for days. Contrails can also spread out for several miles, again, depending on environmental attributes.
NASA Interested in Contrails
In 2005, NASA sponsored a Contrail Count-a-Thon program for students around the world. The program involved K-12 students, their teachers and parents and took place during Earth Science Week. NASA stated:
“We’re looking for special clouds called contrails. We want students, teachers and parents all over the world to report whether or not they see contrails in the sky on Oct. 13.” (2)
Why was NASA so interested in contrails? It was part of an ongoing NASA research project exploring the effect contrails have on the weather.
NASA’s Langley Research Center scientists discovered a correlation between temperatures and increased air travel. NASA senior research scientist Dr. Patrick Minnis found:
“…good agreement with weather service data, which reveal that the temperature of the surface and lower atmosphere rose by almost 0.5 degrees F per decade between 1975 and 1994.” (2)
When the ISS (International Space Station) noticed the absence of contrails during the 9/11 air travel ban, scientist David Travis of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater compared the temperatures before and after 9/11.
He discovered a two degree Fahrenheit difference between the high and low temperatures. The question if contrail cloud formation could affect the weather needed to be answered.
Four years later, NASA decided to conduct its world project for students called GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) and S’COOL (3) (ongoing contrail program) along with the help of National Science Foundation. (4)
According to NASA, contrails can last, “for hours to days, and spread over thousands of square kilometers, becoming indistinguishable from naturally occurring cirrus clouds”.
If scientists know where and when contrail clouds are forming, they can possibly determine the “contribution to cirrus cloud cover and their effect on the energy balance”. (3)
Contrails can take on cirrus cloud characteristics and transform into a cloud within 30 minutes. Winds at these altitudes are strong and the clouds can be blown away from original areas to become “persistent” cloud cover elsewhere.
Since satellite detection can’t differentiate between clouds and contrail clouds, NASA decided to enlist students to help sight and record contrails. (5)
Air Force Plans to “Own the Weather”
The first stories of chemtrails emerged soon after a 1996 report commissioned by the US Air Force on weather control was published. The opening line of the Executive Summary states:
“In 2025, US aerospace forces can ‘own the weather’ by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications.”
This report can be found on the United States Air Force Center for Strategy and Technology website that is part of the Air University, the Intellectual and Leadership Center of the Air Force. (6)
In light of this report, it’s easy to understand how the chemtrail conspiracy manifested, especially when this report states:
“The number of specific intervention methodologies is limited only by the imagination, but with few exceptions they involve infusing either energy or chemicals into the meteorological process in the right way, at the right place and time. The intervention could be designed to modify the weather in a number of ways, such as influencing clouds and precipitation, storm intensity, climate, space, or fog.
“If clouds were seeded (using chemical nuclei similar to those used today or perhaps a more effective agent discovered through continued research) before their downwind arrival to a desired location, the result could be a suppression of precipitation. In other words, precipitation could be ‘forced’ to fall before its arrival in the desired territory, thereby making the desired territory ‘dry’. The strategic and operational benefits of doing this have previously been discussed.” (6)
In a 14-page report titled Contrails Facts, the US Air Force addresses several conspiracy points. The paper states that the Air Force has only one unit “capable of aerial spray operations to control disease-carrying pests and insects”. (7)
–> Cloud Seeding and Fire Suppression: “The Air Force does not have a cloud seeding capability.”
–> Chemtrails: “Several authors cite an Air University research paper titled Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. The purpose of that paper was part of a thesis to outline a strategy for the use of a future weather modification system to achieve military objectives and it does not reflect current military policy, practice, or capability. The Air Force is not conducting any weather modification experiments or programs and has no plans to do so in the future.”
It’s certainly understandable how people connected dots or contrails based on the Air Force’s weather control report alone.
For those convinced that chemtrails exist, it will take more than a rebuttal report or NASA’s contrail program to change their minds. In the meantime, school kids continue to help NASA track contrails in the hope of better understanding how these man-made clouds affect the weather.
References & Image Credits:
(2) NASA: Count-a-Thon
(3) My NASA Data
(4) NASA: Contrails
(6) Air Force
(7) Air Force Document
(8) Stuck in Customs via photopin cc
(9) caribb via photopin cc