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.
[bunk]Were climate engineering programs a factor in the Harvey disaster scenario? Available data has already made clear the answer is yes. How much decimation will the manipulation of Hurricane Irma inflict? The US government has been actively engaged in hurricane modification programs for a minimum of 70 years, historical documents prove this fact conclusively. Yet, the power structure controlled circles of academia (and corporate media) continue to fuel total denial of the climate engineering hurricane modification reality, this should not be a surprise. [/bunk]The linked historical document is an overview of government weather modification research written in 1966 (51 years ago).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."The financial and other benefits to human welfare of being able to modify weather to augment water supplies, reduce lightning, suppress hail, mitigate tornados, and inhibit the full development of hurricanes would be very great. "
But no effects on hurricanes. When they discuss the current state of hurricane research they say:
"Over the past twenty years experiments have been conducted on weather modification, particularly on the effects of seedinq clouds with - such materials as silver iodide crystals. The results are limited. Under suitable circumstances it has been possible to augment precipitation by ten to twenty percent, and to reduce the frequency of fire-producing lightning strokes. Effects on hail production have been noted, sometimes suppression and sometimes augmentation."
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?"We can now describe the structure of a mature hurricane in great detail and can even estimate probable variations in the structure with time in the same hurricane or between hurricanes. Our knowledge of the structure of developing and dissipating tropical cyclones is less complete, but even in these cases many data have been collected and analyzed.
Great advances have been made in recent years in developing mathematical models of hurricanes. The most advanced of these models is now being used for partially evaluating simple modification hypotheses.
In spite of all the progress that has been made in hurricane research in recent years, much needs to be done before we can (1) gain an adequate understanding of many details of the energy processes in hurricanes, (2) satisfactorily explain or predict the formation and intensification of tropical cyclones, or (3) develop realistic and accurate dynamical numerical models of hurricanes."
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 Experimental Meteorology Laboratory (EML) in collaboration with NHRLbegan the Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE) in 1970. FACE, which was done in two segments, attempted to document the benefits of cloud seeding over the Florida peninsula. This, in turn, was supposed to prove the efficacy of seeding in modifying hurricanes. Instead the second segment, ending in 1983, proved inconclusive.
In 1971 STORMFURY experiments were flown into a late season Hurricane Ginger. Because of a dearth of candidate storms over the next few years and another hiatus as NOAA acquired new aircraft, this would be the last hurricane modification experiment flown under Project STORMFURY
The 1985 paper made this conclusion clear:Project STORMFURY came to a formal end in 1982, as no hurricane modification experiments had been flown in over a decade, and as serious doubts about the assumptions of STORMFURY came to be expressed. In part the new cloud physics data showed that the amount of supercooled liquid water available in a hurricane was far less than had been thought, and studies of the natural cycles of storm strength showed that what were thought to be the effect of seeding might have been natural. HRD scientists published a paper in 1985 demonstrating many of the flaws in the original STORMFURY premises. Hurricane modification studies and experiments were shelved for the forseeable future.
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.