Chemtrails: What’s Going On And Why You Shouldn’t Worry

On June 8, 2013 by Tim Newman

Chemtrails Evidence - Chemtrail Espanol Eye On Head Man

If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve probably heard chemtrail conspiracy theories.

Many of us know these people are talking nonsense, but lack the talking points to fully rebut their arguments. Others might be a little swayed by the theory but unsure about the details.

With this in mind, this article is written for two types of people:

1) Those who don’t know what chemtrails are and want to know what the fuss is about.

2) Those who think they might believe the conspiracy but aren’t yet fully sold.

It’s not written for hard nosed conspiracy theorists, because those guys (and they normally are guys) just won’t listen.

The starting point here is contrails, short for condensation trails, which are the white fumes that exit the back of planes. Everyone’s seen them, everyone knows they’re common.

What forms contrails?

At the height of an aircraft, it’s very cold; sometimes as low as -40 degrees Celsius. The fumes coming out of the back, however, are very hot and wet. So they condense, much like your breath on a cold day.

Also, the pressure up there is lower because there are fewer gas molecules knocking into each other, which makes it even easier for vapour to condense into a cloud.

These man-made clouds hang around in the sky for differing lengths of time. If it’s more humid and less windy, they remain for longer.

So, where’s the conspiracy?

Conspiracy theorists believe that the government or another shadowy organisation, like the Illuminati, are putting additional chemicals in these trails.

According to them, the “evidence” of this, is that contrails now linger in the air for longer, and they’re thicker. Some pinpoint the exact year and location that this began — California in 1988.

Why would the government be doing this?

There are a few theories. Some say that the chemicals are being pumped out to conduct experiments on the unwilling participants below.

The truth is, if you release chemicals from that far up, who knows where it will end up? Winds could blow it anywhere. So, it would be a rubbish experiment.

Others say they are pumping out these chemicals to weed out weak and elderly members of the population. Once again, who knows where the fumes would end up? It’s not an efficient method at all. You’d be better off poisoning thew water supply.

We should note that, if this was true, the people who plan and carry out these tests also live in the same atmosphere they are polluting. As do their elderly relatives and children.

Chemtrails Evidence - Space

Other conspiracy theorists believe the government is dumping barium salt aerosol on the land to assist in radar mapping for defence purposes.

Others still believe it’s a form of weather modification, which, surprisingly is the least far fetched of the ideas.

What’s cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding first began in the 1950s. By seeding clouds with salt, dry ice, and silver iodide, they can make it rain.

The Chinese government employ this technology more than any other. For instance, they used it in particularly arid regions to help bring down air pollution before the 2008 Beijing Games.

America has also used cloud seeding technology to reduce the size of hail stones. In Russia, they’ve used it to dissipate poisonous nuclear clouds, and in Africa, it’s helped feed starving crops.

Cloud seeding is not secretive or hidden. You can certainly argue about the environmental issues related to cloud seeding, but it’s not a conspiracy.

HAARP conspiracy

Another theory about chemtrails is that they are part of research based at the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, or HAARP in Alaska.

I’ve written about this facility at length elsewhere, so click here for more. In short, these people believe that chemtrails are evidence of a huge electromagnetic superweapon program.

Although details beyond that are sketchy.

Chemtrails Evidence - Sunset at sea

Combating global warming?

Some conspiracy theorists posit that the government is trying to research and combat global warming via chemtrails.

This is a paradox because climatologists are concerned that contrails are making climate change worse.

Clouds are part of the ecosystem we are lucky enough to live in. They carry rain, of course, but they also insulate our world. That’s why a cloudy night is warmer than a clear night.

So, you can imagine that thousands of human-made clouds stretching hundreds of miles may upset this delicate balance.

Where’s their evidence?

Of course, there is no damning evidence that chemtrails are a real and present threat. However, conspiracy theorists draw links between extended chemtrails and flu outbreaks. But there’s no evidence of that, either.

Any other evidence? Well, a photo (below) of ballast barrels installed in an aircraft for flight test purposes is claimed to show chemtrail planes.

However, the real purpose of the barrels is simply to simulate the weight of passengers or cargo. The barrels are filled with water, and the water can be pumped from barrel to barrel to test different centres of gravity while the aircraft is in flight.

Chemtrails Evidence - Boeing Flight Plus Barrels

Other photos surface have surfaced as “evidence.” For instance, this odd structure at the back of a plane. It’s actually a modified fuel pipe, which is used to spray water to test the effects of ice on aircraft during flight:

Chemtrails Evidence - Boeing - NKC-135A

Here’s a picture of an aircraft doing a study on vortices:

Chemtrails Evidence - NASA Vortices Study

Here’s a picture of a plane dumping fuel from mid wing vents:

Chemtrails Evidence - Fuel Dumping - E-6B Mercury

For a bunch of other debunked “chemtrail” aircraft pics go here or here.

Here’s another incredibly poor attempt at convincing anyone of anything:

Chemtrails-vs.-no-chemtrails-2 - Shonky Evidence

What are the scientists saying?

The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs stated that chemtrails are not a scientifically recognised phenomena.

All credible outlets say there’s nothing going on. Here’s a link to a Boeing engineer and pilot who debunks the idea that additional spraying equipment would even fit on a passenger plane.

It’s well worth a read, especially if you’re on the fence about chemtrails.

Origins of the chemtrail myth

Chemtrail myths seem to have first appeared in 1966 when the United States Air Force (USAF) was accused of “spraying the US population with mysterious substances” from aircraft “generating unusual contrail patterns.”

This worry stemmed from a paper that was written called Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.

The Air Force denied actually doing any experiments like this, but the fire had been lit.

In an attempt to dispel concerns, there was a multi-agency response in 2000.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a joint factsheet.

Many chemtrail believers, of course, interpreted this as further evidence of the existence of a government cover up. You see, you just can’t win.

Chemtrails Evidence - Mixed up contrails chemtrails

Since then, American, English, and Canadian governments have been petitioned about chemtrails and all responded in a similar fashion. The Canadian’s official response, for instance, was:

“It is our belief that the petitioners are seeing regular airplane condensation trails, or contrails.”

But of course, a conspiracy theorist wouldn’t trust a government response anyway.

The trouble with conspiracy theorists

One of the problems with many conspiracy theorists is that they are armchair-based.

They assume that there scientists aren’t already measuring the atmosphere, spikes in illness, changes in temperature, and so on.

Researchers are already measuring all of the variables that conspiracy types believe may be impacted by chemtrails.

Having said that, some conspiracy theorists do put vast amounts of time and energy into studying the duration of suspicious clouds.

They look at official meteorological data, relative temperatures, and humidity. Using this data, you can predict how long a contrail should stay in the air.

When they find anomalies, they flag them. Here’s an example of one of their suspicious clouds:

Chemtrails Evidence - Radar Image From National Weather Service - Phoenix

Sometimes, genuine meteorologists are confused by the behaviour of certain contrails. But the atmosphere is complex, and these scientists are adjusting their models rather than crying “Chemtrails!”

In the social media-driven world we live in, it’s easy to forget that theories are not facts.

Models need remodelling on occasion. Because something doesn’t fit the science de jour does not mean that we are being showered with anthrax. It may just be that we haven’t quite got all of our equations right. Scientists realise that.

The higher atmosphere is very difficult to study and is, of course, huge and ever-changing. We can’t expect to know precisely how our newly minted clouds will behave.

Here is a “chembow:”

Chemtrails Evidence - Not Chembows

If you want to see the lengths that some conspiracy theorists go to to find out if a trail is chemtrail or contrail, there’s a how to guide. It’s guess work and tricky maths. Not reliable.

Final thought

I became interested in clouds a few years back thanks to my brother, a pilot. While digging in to the topic, I read about a phenomenon called the sun dog (pictured below).

Sun dogs are a normal, relatively common event that happens when ice crystals form hexagons and align themselves evenly, in the right conditions.

You get a bright spot on one, or both sides of the sun and a ring around the sun if you are very lucky.

I’d never seen this phenomenon before reading about it, but thanks to my new interest in clouds, I looked to the skies more often, and was surprised at how regularly I saw this phenomenon.

If my brother was a chemtrail evangelist rather than a pilot, I may have started looking to the heavens more frequently too. But my interpretation of these beautiful sun dogs would have been significantly different.

Just because you haven’t noticed something before, doesn’t make it new or sinister.

Chemtrails - Chembow - Sun Dog - Parhelia






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