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Weather Modification in the news


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"Cloud seeding sounds like an invention from science fiction in the 1950s and, indeed, the technology behind it was developed in the 1940s. One of the earliest pioneers of cloud seeding was the atmospheric scientist Bernard Vonnegut, brother of the novelist Kurt. King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand, a trained scientist, also has a patent for a method of cloud seeding."

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I remember when Alberta started their weather modification program back in the mid nineties, hail suppression I believe. My friend Glenn from Red Deer told us about it while we were visiting him. He's a aircraft mechanic and I guess they use the same aircraft (Cessnas and another I forget) he worked on at the time, except not modified like the planes used in the project.

Crazy shit.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I remember when Alberta started their weather modification program back in the mid nineties, hail suppression I believe. My friend Glenn from Red Deer told us about it while we were visiting him. He's a aircraft mechanic and I guess they use the same aircraft (Cessnas and another I forget) he worked on at the time, except not modified like the planes used in the project.

Crazy shit.

Things are not always what they seem.


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Glad to see someone took the Ruskies up on this challenge- question is- who was it?

Was it just another round in a 40 year old weather war between the Soviet Union and the USA- or maybe it was China? The weather modification intervention challenge would give 40,000 full time employees of China's Ministry of Weather Modification something to work at...

Or perhaps it be that from her death bed- mother nature is sending a reminder that we're fucking with her bag of tricks here?

Apparently... there was an international treaty (ENMOD) signed in 1977 by both the US and Russia banning this kind of scientific and military weather control experimentation. Not surprisingly- it was one of the first international treaties the Bush administration backed out of.

"The [declassified] documents reveal that both the US, which led the field, and the Soviet Union had secret military programmes with the goal of controlling the world's climate. By the year 2025 the United States will own the weather"

Above quote from another excellent weather warfare article from a Canadian website.

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It's amazing to cross the border, look up, and see a haze of thin clouds over upper new york state.

Every time I go on a sunny day there are more of those very fake looking 'clouds' that have ribbed or ribbon outlines/accents.

You're profiling clouds (from both sides, now?) based on their accents?



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It's amazing to cross the border, look up, and see a haze of thin clouds over upper new york state.

Every time I go on a sunny day there are more of those very fake looking 'clouds' that have ribbed or ribbon outlines/accents.

DUDE! They actually let you into the US? Most activists I know are flat out refused the "privilege"

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Original article published at WSJ.com My highlights are in [color:green]green. My apologies as the messenger if youre one of those people who love and miss the way the sun used to shine.

June 15 2009

It's Time to Cool the Planet

Cutting greenhouse gases is no longer enough to deal with global warming, says Jamais Cascio. He argues that we also have to do something more direct and risky.


If we're going to avoid climate disaster, we're going to have start getting a lot more direct. We're going to have to think about cooling the planet.

The concept is called geoengineering, and in the past few years, it has gone from being dismissed as a fringe idea to the subject of intense debates in the halls of power. Many of us who have been watching this subject closely have gone from being skeptics to advocates. Very reluctant advocates, to be sure, but advocates nonetheless.

What has changed? Quite simply, as the effects of global warming have worsened, policy makers have failed to meet the challenge. As a result, if we want to avoid an unprecedented global catastrophe, we may have no other choice but to reduce the impact of global warning, alongside focusing on the factors that are causing it in the first place. That is, while we continue to work aggressively to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere, we also need to consider lowering the temperature of the Earth itself.

To be clear, geoengineering won't solve global warming. It's not a "techno-fix." It would be enormously risky and almost certainly lead to troubling unforeseen consequences. And without a doubt, the deployment of geoengineering would lead to international tension. Who decides what the ideal temperature would be? Russia? India? The U.S.? Who's to blame if Country A's geoengineering efforts cause a drought in Country B?

Also let's be clear about one other thing: We will still have to radically reduce carbon emissions, and do so quickly. We will still have to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, and adopt substantially more sustainable agricultural methods. We will still have to deal with the effects of ecosystems damaged by carbon overload.

But what geoengineering can do is slow the increase in temperatures, delay potentially catastrophic "tipping point" events such as a disastrous melting of the Arctic permafrost and give us time to make the changes to our economies and our societies necessary to end the climate disaster.

Geoengineering, in other words, is simply a temporary "stay of execution." We will still have to work for a pardon.

Nothing New

Altering the Earth's temperature, of course, is hardly anything new. Human civilization has been changing the Earth's environment for millennia, often to our detriment. Dams, deforestation and urbanization can alter water cycles and wind patterns, occasionally triggering droughts or even creating deserts. On a global scale, industrial activity for the past 150 years or so has changed the Earth's atmosphere, threatening to raise average world temperatures to catastrophic levels, even if we were able to stop releasing carbon into the atmosphere immediately.

What we're talking about with geoengineering, however, is something new. It's a more deliberate manipulation of the environment, rather than a byproduct of other activities. And while we know more than we did just a few years ago about how it might work, there are still plenty of unknowns.

Geoengineering mainly takes two forms: temperature management, which [color:green]moderates heat by blocking or reflecting a small portion of the sunlight hitting the Earth; and carbon management, which gradually removes large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere (as opposed to simply reducing the amount of additional carbon we're releasing into the atmosphere). Temperature management is the more likely course of action, as it has the advantage of potentially quick results, while carbon-management techniques that would have a global impact might take decades or centuries to show results.

Sun Block

Temperature-management proposals boil down to increasing how much sunlight the Earth reflects, rather than absorbs. (Increasing the planet's reflectivity by 2% could counter the warming effects of a doubling of CO2 emissions.) While a variety of techniques have been suggested, some don't pass the plausibility test, either due to cost, clear drawbacks, or both.

For instance, one proposal would place thousands of square miles of reflective sheets in the desert to reflect sunlight an interesting plan, until you realize that this would effectively destroy desert ecosystems. Another proposal calls for launching millions of tiny mirrors into orbit, where they would block some sunlight from reaching the atmosphere. But one study of the orbiting-mirror plan concluded that, to keep pace with the continual warming, we'd need to launch one square mile of sunshade into orbit every hour.

[color:green]Two approaches hold the most promise: injecting tons of sulfates essentially solid particles of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, and pumping seawater into the lower atmosphere to create clouds. A recent report in the journal Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Discussions identified these two approaches as having a high likelihood of being able to counter global temperature increases, and to do so in a reasonably short amount of time.

The sulfate-injection plan, which has received the most study, is explicitly modeled on the effects of massive volcanic eruptions, such as Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines; in the months after the 1991 eruption, global temperatures dropped by half a degree Celsius.

[color:green]To trigger a drop in global temperatures, we'd need to loft between two million and 10 million tons of sulfur dioxide (which combines with oxygen to form sulfate particles) into the lower stratosphere, or at about 33,000 feet. The tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere act like a haze, reflecting a significant amount of sunlight though not enough to notice at ground level (except for some superb sunsets).

While this seems like a large amount, several studies have shown it could be done using some combination of high-altitude balloons, dispersal in jet-aircraft exhaust, and even more exotic platforms such as artillery shells. As with volcanic sulfates, the particles would eventually cycle out of the atmosphere, so we'd have to refresh that two to 10 megatons of sulfur dioxide roughly every year.

[color:green]Stratospheric sulfate injection appeals to many geoengineering proponents for a few reasons. It doesn't require a massive leap in technology to carry out successfully; arguably, we could start doing it this year, if we needed to. It's relatively cheap, probably costing just a few billion dollars a year. And because stratospheric sulfate injection emulates an effect of volcanic eruptions, we already have some idea of what to expect from it for better and worse. We know, for example, that the cooling effect could start within weeks of the injection process.

[color:green]We also know that stratospheric sulfates will likely damage the ozone layer (as happened after Mount Pinatubo erupted), potentially resulting in more skin cancer and damage to plants and animals. In addition, the scattering of sunlight will reduce the efficiency of some kinds of solar power, and some studies have suggested that it could disrupt monsoonal rain cycles.

A Higher Chance of Clouds

The other high-impact proposal, cloud brightening, increases the amount of reflected sunlight by making more clouds and thickening existing ones. One idea is to use ships to propel seawater thousands of feet in the air, where it would form or increase cloud cover.

The technique has both advantages and disadvantages compared with the sulfate-injection method. Lofting seawater into the air to seed cloud formation would have fewer environmental side effects than the sulfates, and may allow for targeted use to counter droughts. Because it would be relatively low altitude, it wouldn't have the same scattering effect on sunlight as sulfate injection.

But increasing the extent and thickness of cloud cover could also have at least as powerful an effect on rainfall patterns as sulfate injection, increasing downpours in one area or contributing to unexpected droughts in others. Finally, the technologies required for cloud brightening are still experimental, though initial proposals look to be markedly more environmentally benign than those used for sulfate injection.

Both solutions could present a more dramatic problem if the geoengineering was to stop abruptly. According to some studies, global temperatures would spike once the geoengineering steps were ended, actually exceeding for a short time where they would have been without any geoengineering. Afterward, the temperature increase would continue as if nothing had been done to slow it. While this doesn't mean we'd have to undertake geoengineering indefinitely, it underscores why geoengineering must be accompanied by carbon cuts.

Also, neither would do anything to solve other problems that arise from excessive levels of carbon dioxide, such as oceans becoming more acidic from increased carbon loading.

The Political Impact

Any kind of geoengineering would also face other issues. Most prominent are the political concerns. Since geoengineering is global in its effects, who determines whether or not it's used, which technologies to deploy, and what the target temperatures will be? Who decides which unexpected side effects are bad enough to warrant ending the process? Because the expense and expertise required would be low enough for a single country, [color:green]what happens when a desperate "rogue nation" attempts geoengineering against the wishes of other states? And because the benefits and possible harm from geoengineering attempts would be unevenly distributed around the planet, would it be possible to use this technology for strategic or military purposes? That last one may sound a bit paranoid, but it's clear that any technology with the potential for strategic use will be at the very least considered by any rational international actor.

There are also more mundane questions of liability. If, for example, South Asia experiences an unusual drought during cyclone season after geoengineering begins, who gets blamed? Who gets sued? Would all "odd" weather patterns be ascribed to the geoengineering effort? If so, would the issue of what would have happened absent geoengineering be considered relevant?

Consider the Alternative

With all of these drawbacks, why would I consider myself an advocate of geoengineering, no matter how reluctant? Because I believe the alternative would be worse.

The global institutions we rely on to deal with a problem like climate change seem unable to look past short-term roadblocks and regional interests. At the same time, climate scientists are shouting louder than ever about the speed and intensity of environmental changes coming from global warming.

In short, although we know what to do to stop global warming, we're running out of time to do it and show no interest in moving faster. So here's where geoengineering steps in: It gives us time to act.

That's if it's done wisely. It's imperative that we increase funding for geoengineering research, building the kinds of models and simulations necessary to allow us to weed out the approaches with dangerous, surprising consequences.

Fortunately, the deployment of geoengineering need not be all or nothing. Though it would have the greatest impact if done globally, some models have shown that intervention just in the polar regions would be enough to hold off the most critical tipping-point events, including ice-cap collapse and a massive methane release.

Polar-only geoengineering strikes me as a plausible compromise position. It could be scaled up if the situation becomes more dire and could be easily shut down with minimal temperature spikes if there were unacceptable side effects.

Still, we can't forget: Geoengineering is not a solution for global warming. It would simply hold temperatures down temporarily, doing nothing about the causes of climate change, let alone ocean acidification and other symptoms of a carbon overdose. We can't let ourselves slip back into business-as-usual complacency, because we'd simply be setting ourselves up for a far greater disaster down the road.

Our overall goal must remain the reduction and then elimination of greenhouse-gas emissions as swiftly as humanly possible. This will require feats of political will and courage around the world. What geoengineering offers us is the time to make it happen.

--Mr. Cascio, based in the San Francisco Bay area, is a futurist and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He can be reached at [color:blue]reports@wsj.com.

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That's going along with the fossil fuel theory, nibbler, which I can't justify buying into aside from never thinking to bring it up on the internet or in regular conversation again.

The fossil fuel theory has never been proven but has been pushed on us for well over a hundred years.

Funny how so many people refute that there is no climate change but don't know enough to even assert that oil is abiotic.

Many of the climate change disbelievers do so because of the scale of economic change, but if they looked into Abiotic oil, their lurking 'but oil is so precious we need to sell it' sentiment would be as valueless as the incredibly abundant toxic soup.

The 'ancient sunlight' concept is so tidy but it's wholly incorrect. I really like the 'living on borrowed time' analogy - too bad i can't use it.

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IMO, fossil/abiotic origins of hydrocarbon fuels is worthy of discussion, but belongs in another thread.

Geoengineering is too large and important a subject to ignore, the Wall Street Journal article I posted above is indicative that the mainstream media has begun tackling this previously secretive topic in recent months.

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i think we should drop some bombs into inactive volcanoes to get those muthafuckas cookin

With tens of thousands of passenger planes high in the air at any given time, adjusting the gasoline mix to emit the required Sulfur Dioxide would be simpler, cheaper, and result in a more evenly distributed cloud cover.

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