"HAVE YOU HEARD WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING?"
This would be a really funny story if so many people didn’t take this stuff seriously. But they do. In fact, atmospheric scientists have gotten so many e-mails, tweets and Facebook posts that drastic measures had to be taken. Now there’s actually been a published scientific study where actual scientists have spent (*wasted*) a lot of time debunking a long-lived conspiracy theory. Of course, it’s the government’s fault (*not really*).
(I have had to resort to explaining any sarcasm clearly, so no one will mis-interpret my statements. So, I use a (*____*) to show my real opinion.
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THE CHEMTRAIL CONSPIRACY THEORY
You won’t believe this one! It seems the government has been secretly releasing dangerous chemicals into the upper atmosphere for about 20 years! (*not*). Depending on who is doing the writing, these "chemtrails" (*not even a real word*) involve:
- Population control
- Biological warfare
- Chemical warfare
- Psychological manipulation
- Weather modification (combat global warming)
I have read and heard many people say that the U.S. Government has a program to actually poison its population. And this has already affected people’s health (*you must be kidding!*). Before you think that this mindset is rare, the new study quoted by the Washington Post says: "In a 2011 international survey, nearly 17% of respondents said they believed the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric spraying program (SLAP) to be true or partly true." That’s even more than the percentage of people who believe the moon landing was fake (*another whopper*).
Some celebrities have been quoted about their belief in "chemtrails," including Prince, Vin Diesel, Chuck Norris, Merle Haggard, and Kylie Jenner (of course, if Vin Diesel or Chuck Norris wanted to argue that to my face, with a fist raised, I may be more inclined to agree with them).
It all starts with the real thing: CONTRAILS from jet aircraft. These CONdensation TRAILS form when water vapor from the exhaust condenses into narrow clouds as the plane races across the sky. We see them regularly...
Let a real Professor of Atmospheric Sciences explain in this blog about "chemtrails" versus "contrails."
SO THEY HAD TO DO A (PUBLISHED) STUDY
Hearing from individual professors or meteorologists hasn’t managed to calm down the fears of the 17%. The new study, from scientists at Stanford and the University of California, Irvine wanted "to establish a source of objective science that can inform public discourse." It was published in the past week by the prestigious Environmental Research Letters.
They surveyed 220 contrail experts and 255 atmospheric deposition experts (the type of scientists who should know better), A total of 77 responded (*the rest probably thought it was some sort of prank*).
The scientists were asked if they ever came across evidence "that you think indicates the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric spraying program?." The result: 76 of the 77 simply answered "no." What about the 77th one? "...said the evidence was "high levels of atmospheric barium in a remote area with standard 'low' soil barium." Sounds ominous (*not*).
The study went into great detail, showing multiple "suspicious" photos. The scientists explained, for example, why these trails behind aircraft appear to be lasting longer than they used to (a major point from the conspiracy believers). Planes are flying higher, have larger engines that produce more water vapor, higher water vapor content of the atmosphere due to climate change, and increased fuel efficiency.
Doesn’t that sound more reasonable than the government trying to poison us?
AND ANOTHER THING
If anyone wanted to spray stuff in the atmosphere to affect us at the ground, they wouldn’t do it at the level jets fly. Anything up there just disburses into the atmosphere. They would spray close to the ground, like crop dusters.
HOW DID THIS ALL START?
I have wondered for years how this interesting (*crazy*) theory got started. The answer is really interesting (*really*). This goes back to 1996, when the Air Force published a paper, "Weather as a Force Multiplier." It was a theoretical look about how weather could be modified for combat. You can read it here.
And then it spread…and spread…and spread. I guess they didn’t read the "this report contains fictional representations of future situations/scenarios" part.
AND THEN THERE’S HAARP
HAARP is a real research program, started in 1990 (and recently cancelled). "Chemtrail" people sometimes say the "chemtrails" are from the HAARP program. And get a load of some of the things HAARP has been blamed for:
- Gulf War Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
….and the downing of TWA Flight 800 (according to Wikipedia –- I can only take so much reading of the conspiracy sites).
The scientific study of "chemtrails" did not mention HAARP. Sounds like a reason for yet another interesting (*unnecessary*) study.
In the meantime, there are so many real problems in the world. I suggest focusing on one of them, instead of spending (*wasting*) your time worrying about ridiculous conspiracy theories that pose little (*no*) logic.
Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz
Chief Meteorologist, NBC10 Philadelphia