1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member


    After the record breaking rainfall of Hurricane Harvey we now have Hurricane Irma, the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic. Already devastating small outlying caribbean islands, it's heading for the larger British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic/Haiti, Cuba and others, homes to million of people. Projections vary but it looks very possible that it will make landfall as a major hurricane in Florida sometime on Sunday.

    The conspiracy oriented site Geoengineering Watch has already started to claim that Irma (and Harvey) were somehow deliberately created, steered, or intensified.
    The linked historical document is an overview of government weather modification research written in 1966 (51 years ago). It does indeed say

    And yes it would. However this does not mean that they can actually do it. In fact the documents goes into detail that the only one of these things they actually think they could currently do with any success was augment water supplies by cloud seeding with small planes and ground based silver iodide generators. This is something that has been done since the 1950s. It does not steer hurricanes.

    But no effects on hurricanes. When they discuss the current state of hurricane research they say:

    So if 50 years ago they were in the very early stages of thinking about how they could modify a hurricane, would it not make sense to assume that now they would have figured it out?

    Yes and no - they figured it out, but what they figured out was that it could not be done. There was actually a couple of decades in which hurricane modification research was done (most notable Operation Storm Fury) the research largely focussed on obtaining accurate measurements of the conditions around the genesis of a hurricane and its subsequent track and development, and then building predictive models.

    NOAA did conduct several practical experiments in Hurricane modification, but the results were inconclusive. Hurricanes vary in their paths naturally, and any effect of the seeding was undetectable.
    However the research did pay off in a greater understanding of the physics of hurricanes and other storms. With that greater understanding came the realization that modification attempts were not going to work:
    The 1985 paper made this conclusion clear:

    So far from 70 years of hurricane modification, there were two decades in the 1970s and 1980s when they looked into it, and eventually figured out it could not be done.

    Hurricane modification is still a desirable goal. But the research focus is still on measuring, modelling, and predicting. The more we know about hurricanes, the less likely it seems that we will ever be able to control them with any degree of success. But research continues.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  2. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    Lost in GE Watch's hyperbole is that the attempts at modification were to mitigate- lessen- the impacts of Hurricanes. Moreover, all they really did was seed clouds much as it has been done for decades in more local storms...which is not secret.

    GE Watch is basically torturing the data until it confesses.
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  3. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    Coincidentally I came across this paper today (PDF attached), which discusses one possible method of reducing the intensity of Atlantic hurricanes using geoengineering techniques. It is authored by Stephen Salter, emeritus professor of engineering design at the University of Edinburgh, and is only a brief outline, but the idea would be to use marine cloud brightening (i.e. using ships to spray salt water into the air to add cloud nuclei, and thus increase the amount of low-level cloud over the sea). This would reduce the amount of sunlight heating the sea in the areas of the Atlantic where hurricanes form, which would make the sea cooler, thus reducing the amount of energy available to power hurricanes.

    Salter's calculations suggest that reducing the temperature of the top two metres of the sea in the relevant area by three degrees Celsius could be achieved with a fleet of 12 "spray vessels". But there are numerous caveats:

    Again, though, it is important to note that this is just an idea to reduce the strength of hurricanes. Once a hurricane forms, it will do what it wants, and we are powerless to stop it.

    Attached Files:

  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Indeed - their goal (which they did not achieve with any statistical certainty) was to reduce the intensity of the maximum wind. Made clear in the abstract:
  5. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    I find it pretty incredible that people ever seriously thought they could control hurricanes. (I guess it was that "can-do" attitude of the 1960s, when science seemed invincible and anything was possible!)

    Just look at the amount of energy involved:

    (Source: NOAA)

    For comparison, the yield of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima was about 6.3 x 1013 joules. Which means that a hurricane releases more than 800,000 times as much energy as the Hiroshima bomb in a single day, or almost 10 Hiroshima bombs per second. Good luck steering that!
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  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    By "70 years" Wigington is probably referring to Project Cirrus in the late 1940s. This is mentioned in the Stormfury overview document.

    This of course was well before they had figured out that seeding would have very little effect, and decades before any even partway accurate models of hurricanes could be built. Later ananysis showed the seeding did nothing

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The more extreme weather modification theorists (which include Geoengineering Watch) promote the idea that HAARP is responsible.

    HAARP is a radio transmitter that can heat a small region of the ionosphere, far above the level where weather actually happens, vastly less than the daily variations from the sun, and only over a small region in Alaska. Since it does not affect the lower atmosphere, it can't even affect the weather over Alaska.

    These theories are repeated every Hurricane, so I'll refer back to Sandy:

  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    There's considerable uncertainty right now about what has happened to the low-lying island nation of Barbuda, population 1600. Nothing has been heard of the island since the eye of Irma hit 12 hours ago. Here it is inside the eye.


    The was a statement from the Antigua and Barbuda PM, but it seems to be based on info from before the Hurricane hit.
    Antigua is a separate island, and was not in the direct path (it's due south of the eye in the image above.

    We should know in a few hours.

    Source: https://twitter.com/weathernetwork/status/905489286287552512
  9. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Rush Limbaugh has a theory that the fear around Irma has been pumped up to sell more water and promote the science of climate change
    He's just rambling, but he's still got a sizable audience.
  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That preliminary report seems to be from before they lost contact 12 hours ago. There's still nothing since then.
  12. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    There's an International Red Cross rep on BBC news 24 now, he said communications with Barbuda 'are being re-established' but couldn't say any more.
  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    So basically the last they heard building were losing their roofs, but they have heard nothing since. That would have been when the first half of the hurricane hit.
  14. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    THey just sent a Helicopter from Antigua to Barbuda (35 miles away)

    In the #Barbuda twitter stream there's a mixture of people being relieved because they are hearing versions of the "no fatalities" report (from 12 hours ago), and people who realize there's been no communication.

    There's going to be "Fake News" accusations on this one, regardless of what the situation is (and it's unlikely to be good).
  15. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    al jeezer says the storm hit before 6GMT. that's 3pm? Barbuda time? I'm so bad with time zones.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  16. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    and Karen-Mae Hill said 12:30 UK time but cnn says, I'm just trying to figure out the time frame as the PM seems pretty calm .. although flooding may be a serious issue. :/
  17. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  18. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Prime Minister reporting 90% of homes on Barbuda destroyed.

    Asked about fatalities, but lost connection on satellite phone.
  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Mention of 1,000 structures seemed to lead to reports of 1,000 fatalities on Twitter. Totally unfounded. I listened to the ABS broadcast. However lots of people are Twitter are repeating the rumour.
  20. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    4:44 pm est he just made a joke about how the hurricane cleaned some [contaminate] out of the sky that made his cell phone work better.
  21. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    yes they are saying (unofficial report) 1 fatality.. and they posted that on FB too.
  22. Svartbjørn

    Svartbjørn Senior Member

    Camille is the biggest one that I know of that comes to mind. Id heard stories, growing up, about Hurricane Camille, and the cloud seeding that took place that made Camille stronger instead of weaker.. which is kind of what got me interested in meteorology when I was younger. I wanted to know what went wrong and why the experiment failed.

    Id heard all these stories from my mom. Normally, my mom's rather rational but I cant remember the number of times she swore up and down that it was a government conspiracy to control the weather and that it either "got out of control" or was an experiment to try to make it stronger so that storms could be weaponized. From the sounds of things, this conspiracy appears to be an extension of that same type of thinking.
  23. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Prime Minister just on ABS live. He confirmed one known fatality. Later many residents told of their nights, one fireman and one male resident confirmed 1 fatality (known) also. These last gentlemen described the fatality as "a little infant", "little child" :(

    Helicopter video of the communications tower (looked like a cell tower type of thing, metal) broken in a few pieces. Residents state the eye came shortly after that. Rescue personnel went out during eye. Most residents stayed in homes. less than 200 in the shelters.

    No mandatory evacuation in place, although residents (Prime Minister) encouraged to shelter on Antigua. Mandatory evac if Jose looks like it will hit there. many currently homeless.
  24. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  25. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    Getting back to the science of cloud modification. I stumbled across a page which actually discusses a 1950s proposal for using an atomic weapon to 'steer' a hurricane, what it makes quite clear is that claims that HAARP can steer hurricanes just would not work, the energy requirements are just too high.


    I know of at least one author who was probably aware of the concept described, Wilbur Smith's novel 'Hungry As The Sea' (1978) climaxes with a hurricane being disrupted by a fuel-air explosion (The fuel is the cargo of a gargantuan ULCC) set off in the eye of the storm.
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  26. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Hurricanes to scale:
  27. skephu

    skephu Senior Member

    Don't forget about the more recent HAMP (Hurricane Aerosol Microphysics Project), which had promising results but was defunded in 2010.
  28. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I had forgotten them. But they were largely a computer modelling effort, and never actually sprayed anything.
    The case studies were computer models using data from storms, not actual spraying.

    They did study the effects of actual aerosols from pollution - but that was pre-existing pollution plumes.

    And none of that was steering or intensify the storm, just reducing the intensity. By 20% in their simulations.
  29. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    Snopes is covering claims that the people behind the 'geoengineering' behaved as all fictional villains do and left clues in popular entertainment for conspiracy theorists to find. Needless to say, it's more scaremongering that relies on people not checking the 'facts' they are served.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2017
  30. Landru

    Landru Moderator Staff Member

    Well since there is no such thing as a category 7 storm we can conclude that this is not true. Which Snopes did.
  31. Whitebeard

    Whitebeard Senior Member

    Surprising they haven't mentioned this one yet
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  32. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    The film is (bad) fiction, but there is a trend amongst conspiracy theorists to seek out what they see as clues to what 'they' are doing to the world in popular media, if you search YouTube, you can still find videos that the creators claim 'prove' that the people behind 9/11 sprinkled clues to what they had planned throughout kids cartoons in the years leading up to the events.
  33. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Now Irma is dissipating, attention will move to Jose, which looked like it was going to miss the US, but now is going to do a 360 and line up for a possible East Coast landfall in a week.
  34. Zachary Mckenzie

    Zachary Mckenzie New Member

    Fantastic job, I really enjoy your work on this site. I have something to ask; recently I've came across a claim that the government is using advanced radar technology to manipulate the recent storms in the gulf, he even went so far as to claim that it can cause earthquakes. Here is his quote....."Do you know what the x for on sbx1/ x47b/? They are all work the same as NEXRAD wrs 88. X band is well known and documented as being able to manipulate base frequencies around their stations. This can be as simple as moving low pressure systems or causing a earthquake" he ended with an insult. I was wondering, how much truth to his words are their? If any at all that is.
  35. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    None. Ask him for the documentation.
  36. skephu

    skephu Senior Member

    NEXRAD works in the S band as far as I know.
    I have no idea what "manipulating base frequencies" means and how that would be somehow related to weather or earthquakes.
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  37. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    "X-band" just refers to the frequency range. X is roughly in the 3mm 3cm wavelength, or 10 gigahertz frequency.


    Source: http://www.everythingweather.com/weather-radar/bands.shtml

    There's nothing special about X-band. The short wavelength means it has a high resolution but only a short range.

    "X band is well known and documented as being able to manipulate base frequencies around their stations. This can be as simple as moving low pressure systems or causing a earthquake" is just meaningless. "Base frequencies" of what? They are just rather low-powered radio transmitters. Radio waves can't move atmospheric pressure systems around, or cause earthquakes.

    As @skephu says, Nexrad radar is S-band, not X-band, so the claim that "they all work the same" is also incorrect.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2017
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  38. Spectrar Ghost

    Spectrar Ghost Senior Member

    This is correct. X-band weather radars are rarely used outside research applications, because the resolution is so fine.
  39. skephu

    skephu Senior Member

    3 cm.
  40. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member

    Oops. Corrected, thanks.