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Weather Control and Weather Modification Methods and Technologies

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Creating and Enhancing Rainstorms

Cloud seeding has been used for years to produce and enhance rainfall from showers and thunderstorms.

Cloud seeding has been used for years to produce and enhance rainfall from showers and thunderstorms.

Is weather control and weather modification really possible? This article looks at the current state of weather control and weather modification methods and new technologies. There have been some impressive claims made by some countries regarding their ability to control the weather.

Science fiction novels and movies have been packed with various weather control and modification scenarios; some of which are pure fantasy, while others are based on weather control and modification methods and technologies that are being actively researched and/or used. Weather control and modification research has been performed by scientists for decades in countries throughout the world. Initially, the field made slow progress due to a lack of sufficient verifiable results; however, in recent years some aspects of weather control and modification have gone from the research stage to active implementation by some countries. From cloud seeding to advanced methods of changing the atmosphere’s pressure patterns to steer hurricanes, weather control and modification is a fascinating field of inquiry that can be used to achieve positive ends, such as providing needed rains to drought-stricken areas, and conversely potentially negative ends, such as weaponizing such technology to potentially steer storms into enemy countries.

Weather Control and Weather Modification Research and Technologies

There is a decades-long history of scientific research into methods and technologies with the goal of achieving control over the weather. Research has been conducted by governments around the world and by private companies and research institutions with varying degrees of success. The primary focus of weather control and weather modification research to date has been:

  • Creating rain producing clouds to provide rain to drought stricken areas
  • Preventing rain to preclude it from ruining sporting events and other major events
  • Decreasing the size of hailstones to lessen their impact on crops
  • Weakening hurricanes to minimize their impact on people and property
  • Potentially steering hurricanes for either beneficial or militaristic purposes

There are three main types of weather control and modification methods and technologies that have been actively researched in the field: cloud seeding, using ground-based ionizers, and heating the ionosphere.

How Cloud Seeding Works

How Cloud Seeding Can Cause or Enhance Rainfall

How Cloud Seeding Can Cause or Enhance Rainfall

Cloud Seeding

The most commonly researched and most scientifically accepted weather control and modification method is what is known as cloud seeding, which is used for a variety of purposes, from producing or enhancing rainfall to reducing hail and dispersing fog. Clouds form when moisture in the air creates tiny water droplets or ice crystals around pieces of dust in the atmosphere. The concept behind cloud seeding is very straight-forward - provide the atmosphere or existing clouds plentiful dust like materials (typically silver iodide or carbon dioxide in its solid form) with the intent that moisture in the atmosphere will condense on the materials to produce clouds and subsequently rain.

Cloud seeding can also be used to prevent rain, by injecting small amounts of cloud seeding agents into clouds to cool moisture within the clouds and cause small ice particles to form prematurely, which prevents ice particles from condensing to the point at which rain is produced. One conclusion from cloud seeding research is that the concentration of cloud seeding agents and the timing of their introduction into clouds (how close clouds are to producing precipitation) play a very important role in the ultimate outcome of any cloud seeding efforts.

Cloud seeding is no longer just being researched. China has been actively seeding clouds to produce rain for arid regions in need of water and to prevent rain from spoiling major sporting events. China funds a government agency called the Weather Modification Department that coordinates cloud seeding efforts that reportedly use approximately 12,000 anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers in addition to 30 planes to seed clouds. During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, the country launched 1,104 rain dispersal rockets from sites throughout Beijing when clouds appeared that were threatening rain. While not backed by a scientific study that examined alternative explanations, rain did not spoil the 2008 Beijing Olympics and China’s rain suppression efforts appeared to be successful.

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Other countries actively use cloud seeding to some extent. In the United States, the federal government is not currently involved in active cloud seeding programs, but many agricultural states have cloud seeding programs to enhance rainfall and reduce hail in crop growing areas.

How Ground-Based Ionizers Are Used To Produce Rain

This is the Technology Used During the "Weathertec" Project to Produce Rain in the Arid Abu Dhabi Desert.

This is the Technology Used During the "Weathertec" Project to Produce Rain in the Arid Abu Dhabi Desert.

Using Ionizers To Aid In Cloud Formation

A Swiss company called Metro Systems International conducted experiments for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of United Arab Emirates, during the summer of 2010 that involved the use of large ground-based ionizers to produce rainfall producing clouds in the normally dry Abu Dhabi desert. The project was called "Weathertec" and reportedly cost $11 million. The large ground based ionizers generate trillions of negatively charged particles in the atmosphere above them, which theoretically causes moisture in the atmosphere to form around these particles, producing clouds and ultimately rainfall. The relative humidity in the atmosphere must be at least 30 percent for the negatively charged particles to have sufficient moisture available to produce precipitation producing clouds.

Government weather forecasters did not predict any naturally occurring rainstorms during the days in which the Weathertec reportedly produced downpours. The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology monitored weather conditions during the experiments and confirmed that an unusual amount of rainfall occurred in the Abu Dhabi desert during the summer of 2010.

Many scientists are skeptical of Metro Systems International’s claims of producing rainstorms in the arid Abu Dhabi desert. Further confirmation of the veracity of using large ground-based ionizers to produce precipitation on demand will be needed before it is accepted by mainstream scientists.

Heating The Ionosphere To Potentially Steer Storms

One of the more interesting and potentially most sinister weather control and modification technologies is the United States military’s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) radio wave transmitters that could be used to steer storms and control the weather. HAARP involves research into the use of low frequency radio waves to heat up the Earth’s ionosphere. While HAARP has many known and unknown research goals, one of the potential uses of HAARP is the modification of the Earth’s ionosphere in such a way to steer dangerous storms, such as hurricanes, either away from or towards populated areas. HAARP could theoretically be used to heat the ionosphere in specific locations to change atmospheric pressure patterns in such a way that they could steer storms at will. If this is true, then HAARP could be used to both provide beneficial rain to crop growing regions and to steer dangerous storms towards military enemies.

Other Weather Control and Weather Modification Technologies

Many other exotic weather control and modification ideas have been proposed and researched over the years by scientists around the world. Other weather control and modification methods and technologies are mainly focused on weakening hurricanes, so their effects on land are greatly reduced. They include seeding hurricanes with silver iodide, plastic gels, or soot to cause them to expend energy and weaken, using powerful air jets to cause storms ahead of a hurricane to disrupt the hurricane (akin to building a firebreak), and coating the sea surface ahead of a hurricane with biodegradable oil to cut off warm ocean water vapor that hurricanes need to survive.

A special thanks to Gary Arnold who helped with the content of this article.

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© 2013 John Coviello

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