History and Science of Weather Modification

Mick West

Staff member
It's a quite common misconception that weather modification is something new, secret, and nefarious. But it's actually been going on quite openly since the 1950s.

The purpose of this thread is to collate various resources (videos, photos, documents) that demonstrate the history and science of weather modification, with the historical focus being pre-1995

A great start is this 1968 video from Australia that goes over the history up to that point, and gives a really good overview of the state of the art in 1968.

Please keep posts to just sharing resources with immedate commentary, and not getting into extensive discussion about them

Mick West

Staff member
Also viewing cloud seeding in the context of popular culture is useful. Here for example is a mention on the Dick Van Dyke show in 1965

Mick West

Staff member
While this video does not mention cloud seeding, it's a good complement to the above, as it explains a lot of the underlying science.
(nice contrails at 13:55)


For this thread I think it is worthwhile to highlight a recent book by a scholar well-versed on the history of meteorology and climatology:

James Fleming, Fixing the Sky. The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control,
Columbia Univ Press, 2010

A long essay describing the book in detail with some interesting episodes quoted is available here:

There are some interesting videos with interviews or conference talks by Professor Fleming, maybe the best one is the following, only 12 minutes long summarizing his book:

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Senior Member.
More on that here https://www.metabunk.org/threads/how-effective-is-cloud-seeding.5405/

After nearly a decade of work, scientists concluded that cloud seeding could boost precipitation by 5 to 15 percent
they found that only about 30 percent of the precipitation that fell came from storms that had the right temperatures and wind directions to be seeded. If you assume that you can get a five to 15 percent bump in precipitation out of those storms, you’re now looking at a total increase of precipitation of only about 1.5 to 4.5 percent, he says. “Water managers need to be realistic about what the real benefit is. You can’t take that 15 percent and say that’s 15 percent more snow over the winter.”

Content from External Source


While I suspect it's virtually impossible to get an honest read on how successful his efforts have been, the King of Thailand has long experimented with cloud seeding and holds several patents in the field.

Reasonably comprehensive, if overly fawning and oddly phrased, overview of "Royal Rainmaking, 1955-2007."

European Patent 1491088 B1, "Weather modification by royal rainmaking technology."