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Weather Modification: Reduce Drought, Attack Enemies, and Divert Hurricanes

By imrdkl in Technology
Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 05:19:27 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

It's a thirsty world out there. And quenching that thirst is more than just a job for kool-aid. In Africa recently, a young girl was attacked by baboons after walking 12 kilometers to a borehole to fetch water. More than 30 of the primates stole the water she was carrying back to her village, and left the girl bleeding profusely. But Africa is far from the only place where the natives are getting restless. In southern Australia, for example, more than 400 local ladies got together this month and danced naked (pictures not available) to bring down some rain. But rain-dancing, while having been shown to work in the past, isn't the only way to get moisture out of the clouds. Technology is being applied to the atmosphere around the world using various weather modification techniques - the most popular and well-understood of which is called cloudbusting.


Cloudbusting, also called cloud-seeding, is traditionally a technique whereby clouds are injected or sprayed with certain chemicals to make them produce rain. The technique was first discovered by accident in the 1940s by a scientist who was conducting experiments in a cloud chamber, a sealed laboratory environment used to simulate atmospheric conditions. When dry ice was introduced into the chamber to aid cooling, the scientist noted that the production of clouds increased due to the chemicals (silver iodide) found in the dry ice itself.

The initial discoveries led to widespread tinkering with clouds during the decades which followed, with funding during 1970s in the US peaking at nearly $20 million per year. Eventually, interest in the procedure waned, due primarily to the lack of verifiable proof that the efforts to increase rain were having a positive effect. More recently, during the late 1990s, new statistical evidence was compiled which proves beyond a reasonable doubt that cloudbusting does work. The experiments showed rainfall from seeded clouds lasts longer and spreads farther than that from unseeded clouds. In some cases the amount of rain from seeded clouds was twice as much as from those which weren't seeded. During the same period, many cloud seeding operations around the world were being revitalized, and modern weather modification operations are now growing again.

One well-established cloud-seeding operation in the US is to be found in George Bush's home state of Texas. The South Texas Weather Modification Association (STWMA) was formed in 1996. In 1998, the Edwards Aquifier Authority in Texas set aside $500,000 for cloud seeding, and in coordination with the STWMA, convinced then-Governor George W. Bush's administration to suspend regulations requiring a permit to seed clouds, which allowed efforts to begin immediately. Since that time several distinct weather-modification associations have begun operations in Texas, and at Texas A&M one can find publications which provide introductory overviews and maps demonstrating the effects of cloud seeding operations there. Recent news indicates that cloud-seeding efforts continue in the dry and arid counties of southwest Texas.

There are plenty of other cloud-seeding operations to be found across the US, including those in North Dakota and Kansas, among others. In Colorado, more than $700,000 was spent just last winter, in their efforts to increase the water levels in the parched watersheds of Denver and the critical snowpack on the states ski areas. The cloud-seeding efforts in Colorado covered an area more than 6000 square miles last winter, at a total cost of $1.2 million - that's the largest cloud-seeding expense ever in Colorado, and possibly in the entire US. At least 29 states have licensed weather modification programs now. In fact, the American Society of Civil Engineers is currently seeking public commentary on cloud seeding standards in the US.

And the US isn't the only place where cloud-seeding is catching on. From Africa to Israel to Russia to Taipei, cloud seeding is being used to successfully increase rainfall in and around critical aquifiers and water-storage areas. In the Phillipines, where El Niño damage is steadily rising this year, cloud seeding efforts are being pushed forward to minimize the effect on local sugar producers. And in Australia they're not just utilizing dancing naked women to bring rain - cloud-seeding has been standard procedure for several years now. Tasmanian Hydro has a full program of cloud-seeding, which they use to raise the levels of important aquifiers in certain parts of the country. The program may, in fact, work too well. Early in April when Tasmanian Hydro announced plans to seed clouds later in the month, the local tourism industy complained and threatened a lawsuit to stop the efforts. They worried that local tourism might be affected during the peak season at the beginning of winter. Eventually, Tasmanian Hydro reportedly postponed their cloud seeding until later in June, when it's colder.

As previously mentioned, rain-making isn't all about science and statistical analysis. A "thought provoking" program in New Zealand, called Takitimu Weather Modification relies on the Human Energy Field to modify the weather, in coordination with use of the latest cloud-seeding technologies. The folks at Takitimu won't publish the details of their technique, ostensibly to protect indigenous knowledge systems but presumably also because they're concerned about misuse of the techniques for military purposes, instead of simply for bringing on the rain.

Indeed, weather modification has long been considered and used for military ends - the military potential of weather modification as an important weapon has been recognized since the 1950s. During the Vietnam war, the US used cloud seeding to produce heavy rains along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, for example. But the potentially devastating effects on civilians and legal ramifications of militaristic storm-brewing finally led to a UN resolution in 1977 which prohibited the hostile use of weather modification. Nevertheless, the influence of the weather on military activities is well known, and the US and other governments have spent plenty of time and money investigating the techniques. In 1996 the DoD produced an important and lengthy paper entitled Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025, a study designed to investigate the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future.

It's been widely hinted that the US already has the power to manipulate the weather for it's own military purposes. And they're certainly not being completely secretive about it, either. The US military would very much like to own the weather although it's generally accepted that the techniques for doing so have already been "dispersed" around the world, since the breakup of the former Soviet Union. The Chinese, for example, have a clause in their Regulations on Administration of Weather Modification which specifically states that weather modification for military purposes will be carried out. In light of that fact, it might not be long before al Qaeda is blamed for killer storms. Indeed, it's been shown recently that, during the early days of cloud seeding, many deaths were caused by inexperienced scientists who were tinkering with a large storm in England.

In any case, manipulating the weather clearly has the potential to be a Good Thing, as well as a weapon. As a science, it's been on the "back burner" for a number of years as stated previously, but now some scientists are now looking much harder at the potential for doing "good" with weather modification. One of the most exciting possibilities involves altering the course of hurricanes. While many feel that this sort of technology is still many years off, it's certainly on the minds of visionary scientists such as Russ Hoffman, a research with Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc., a research company devoted to studying and predicting the weather. Elsewhere, Stephen Salter, an English scientist who demonstrated innovative and visionary thinking in the field of wave power has recently announced plans to use wind turbines to make rain. And while some call his idea far-fetched, Dr. Salter is certainly no shaman. And possibly most interesting of all, a recent finding has opened speculation that rain clouds are often seeded, not by dust and chemicals, but by microbes and living organisms high up in the atmosphere. A finding which may lead to brand new techniques for seeding clouds, and possibly leading to the discovery of a completely new ecosystem in the clouds.

Ahead of the World Water Forum - 2003, which was held last March, the UN released a grim report which Gordon Young, director of the World Water Assessment Program at UNESCO, called an absolute tragedy. The report stated that, by 2050, water scarcity will affect more than two thirds of the world's population. And while the World Water Forum was widely denounced for producing "watered down" goals and plans, it's ultimately clear that there have been plenty of warnings regarding the urgency of the situation. Weather modification and cloudbusting, while not formally considered at the World Water Forum, brings a drop of hope on a dry and dismal future.

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Related Links
o kool-aid
o attacked by baboons
o borehole
o danced naked
o shown to work
o weather modification
o cloudbusti ng
o tinkering with clouds
o statistica l evidence
o South Texas Weather Modification Association
o Edwards Aquifier Authority
o publicatio ns
o Recent news
o North Dakota
o Kansas
o efforts
o 29 states
o seeking public commentary
o Africa
o Israel
o Russia
o Taipei
o steadily rising
o full program
o announced plans
o complained
o Takitimu Weather Modification
o Human Energy Field
o protect indigenous knowledge systems
o produce heavy rains
o investigat ing the techniques
o Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025
o own the weather
o Regulation s on Administration of Weather Modification
o al Qaeda is blamed for killer storms
o many deaths were caused
o altering the course of hurricanes
o Atmospheri c and Environmental Research, Inc.
o wave power
o wind turbines to make rain
o microbes and living organisms
o World Water Forum - 2003
o absolute tragedy
o denounced
o plenty of warnings
o Also by imrdkl


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Weather Modification: Reduce Drought, Attack Enemies, and Divert Hurricanes | 82 comments (60 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
I was expecting . . . (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by Dphitz on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:58:46 AM EST

at least some mention of the rumors/facts of HAARP (considering the title).  I'm not too familiar with that project, so I don't know all the details of the conspiracy theories surrounding it.


God, please save me . . . from your followers

HAARP (5.00 / 2) (#46)
by freality on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 11:01:38 AM EST

There was an article on /. a while go titled "NASA Announces Enviromentally Friendly Jet Fuel ". There was a lot of argument over how damaging the shuttle's exhaust really is to the atmosphere. I got interested and so poked around and commented on some findings. There's an amazing document that you'll find posted around. Or, just do a search for HAARP on cryptome.org. Long story short, our military (and in a small way Russia's) has done some extremely wacky experimenting with Earth's atmosphere, e.g. inducing new permanent Van-Allen belts by exploding atomic and fusion bombs in the ionosphere and at the ozone layer.

HAARP is one the modern offsprings of this research. It stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. It's a military "radio research facility" in Alaska. Basically, they're researching how high-energy EMF waves can be used to alter the atmosphere for fun and profit. It's probably a pretty cool job, causing aurora, holes in the ionosphere, etc., but it's of course no wonder that it doesn't come under general public sanction (imagine asking just normal people if they want to poke holes in the radiation-protective layers of our atmosphere for military gain. ah! that'd be a great k5 poll!)

Their goal, from the document (which aren't too far away from the stated goals on the HAARP website):

  • Generate extremely low frequency (ELF) waves for communicating with submerged submarines
  • Conduct geophysical probes to identify and characterize natural ionospheric processes so that techniques can be developed to mitigate or control them
  • Generate ionospheric lenses to focus large amounts of high frequency energy, thus providing a means of triggering ionospheric processes that potentially could be exploited for Department of Defense purposes,
  • Electron acceleration for infrared (IR) and other optical emissions which could be used to control radio wave propagation properties
  • Generate geomagnetic field aligned ionization to control the reflection/scattering properties of radio waves,
  • Use oblique heating to produce effects on radio wave propagation, thus broadening the potential military applications of ionospheric enhancement technology.

There's an additional capability that is being researched:

"Ionospheric disturbances at high latitudes also can act to induce large currents in electric power grids; these are thought to cause power outages. Understanding of these and other phenomena is important to maintain reliable communication and power services."

I wonder if that research saw some practice over Baghdad recently, as the cause of the power outtage isn't clear.

Once you read the document, you get a nice burning feeling in your wallet area. It's those tax dollars hard at work!

Anyone ever researched the claims of this document? I've done some cursory poking around and it isn't too wide of the mark if at all, but would be interested to hear more.

[ Parent ]

The scientist (4.60 / 5) (#7)
by Kasreyn on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:58:57 AM EST

was Bernard Vonnegut, 1915-1997, in his lifetime one of the world's foremost minds on the electrification of thunderstorms, and the elder brother of famous writer (and my personal hero) Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

He was by all accounts a kind, funny, courtly gentleman who lived a life of scientific discovery and fun.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Dangers of weather modification (4.25 / 4) (#14)
by gmuslera on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 01:58:25 PM EST

Some years ago I read somewhere that the worldwide climate system was very interrelated, that a butterfly flying in south africa could provoke a tropical storm in the caribe the week after that kind of relation between cause and effect.

So, will not be dangerous for all to sistematically modify the system? Of course that in a very small timeframe looks benefical, but how much good is it if that make disasters a week or a month later? And I think that at this time we can't predict what will happen next week after our "modifications" are done.... this could undo or make things worse than it could be if we don't touch anything.

We are now changing the wheater, with contamination mostly, but changing it. But doing a change without knowing all that will happen because of this (as a weapon, or to avoid storms, or to make rain) could be really dumb.

Re: Dangers (2.33 / 6) (#15)
by cdyer on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:21:23 PM EST

Step 1: Modify the weather.
Step 2: Destroy the world as we know it.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: PROFIT!

[ Parent ]
This is not slashdot (nt) (none / 0) (#70)
by jeti on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 11:42:13 AM EST

:-P

[ Parent ]
Unforseen consequences (5.00 / 3) (#33)
by Safety Cap on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 08:29:04 PM EST

The Australian continent has a regular cycle of flooding and drought. Messing with the climate will interrupt the Southern Oscillation index, and could quite possibly disrupt the cycle.

In a worst-case scenario, the plants and animals that have evolved to depend upon the drought-flood cycles would die off, as their food supply, mating seasons, etc, would all be interrupted.

The long-term ramifications of this would be immense, and could end up causing that area to be uninhabitable to humans (much like Easter Island's ecology has been crushed by human tampering).

[ Parent ]

there are many dangers (4.00 / 2) (#38)
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:52:46 PM EST

 that is why we must have international treaties and the UN must have control over this. we must use it for good not evil. think about being able to artificialy reverce the effectrs of global warming on the environments that currently exist.

that would be a good thing...also an interesting one becasue I would like to see what happens when we artificaly hold the weather patters in a fixed and optimal pattern. does the temp keep gong up or does the temp go up and come down a lot faster than it naturaly would in the heating and cooling cycles of the planet.

[ Parent ]

Global warming (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by kralizec on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:26:15 AM EST

Why do people keep telling that global warming is a Bad Thing (tm)?

As far as I know, we don't even know whether it would happen without any human action. You know, in the recent (geologically speaking) history of the Earth there have been several cycles of warm / cold weather (the glaciations and some other minor ones, IIRC)...

In fact, we are in a cold cycle right now, so it would be rather logic to expect an increase in the average temperature...

The point is we think it's happening too quickly, but, again, there's no evidence (that i know of) about how sudden these changes have been in the past.

Well, I'm afraid it's too off-topic...

---
Un sot toujours trouve un plus sot qui l'admire
[ Parent ]

A Bad Thing for us certainly (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by hollo on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 11:40:13 AM EST

Even natural swings in climate have been bad things for large numbers of species. The ice ages involved sheets of ice covering land down to sea level across much of Europe and Northern America, which would be decidedly inconvenient for were it to happen now however naturally.

A significant warming could have disastrous effects too. If subtle changes lead to phenomenon like El Nino which causes major problems, then severe generalised warming could cause a lot more. Theories have mentioned widespread flooding, diverting of the gulf stream, and droughts - but it is inherently difficult to predict. Any changes will cause chaos though since local populations are genereally adapted in terms of size, and farming techniques to the local climate.

It is difficult to say whether or not there would be global warming without us, but there is a workable scientific theory for how we might be causing it, and CO2 levels have certainly risen. Even if we can't be certain it is us then it would still be worth doing what we can to reduce our part in it.



[ Parent ]
you seem to be one of the masses that mix (none / 0) (#51)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:00:05 PM EST

Global warming with Green house effect.

Global warming is just that the Earth is heating up, which it is.

Greenhouse effect is a hyothetical casue of global warming but is in no way prooven (unless you are an emotional fool)

anyway. I know the globe is warming and I think it is because of natural variations in the historic tempratures....hell we might be having a small 300 year fluxuation like they did in 1100...evidence shows that it took about 50 years for the earth to enter than mini ice age.

I think we are on a down trend from the temprature increace from the last ice age and this is just a short spike.

[ Parent ]

I'm guessing you live at high altitudes (none / 0) (#52)
by Ruidh on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 12:34:16 PM EST

Fact: No professional climatologist disbelieves the evidence for Global Warming.

People are too keen to harp on the uncertainties in climate models as a reason not to take action. This is not a proper risk analysis.

Fact: Climatoligists believe that temperatures would continue to rise for the next 50 years even if carbon emissions were reduced beginning today.

What is the risk of reducing carbon emissions even if we are wrong about GLobal Warming? Not too much. Perhaps a slower rate of growth in the economy as we convert over to sustainable fuels. But, once that conversion were complete, the economy would be in a better position for the long haul.

What is the risk of doing nothing and being right about Global Warning? Once the evidence becomes overwhelmingly clear, it will be too late to do anything about it. There will be widespread economic and social disruption if sea levels rise in the latter part of this century.

The answer "It's not my problem, I'll be long dead." is not the right answer.
 
"Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
[ Parent ]

Jurassic Park (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by Rasman on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:16:42 AM EST

"Some years ago I read somewhere...butterfly..."
That was the character Malcolm in the book Jurassic Park talking about chaos theory. Crichton probably borrowed the butterfly example, though.

---
Brave. Daring. Fearless. Clippy - The Clothes Pin Stuntman
[ Parent ]
It was Lorentz (5.00 / 1) (#48)
by hollo on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 11:26:31 AM EST

who came up with the butterfly quote. You may have heard of the Lorentz attractor, which was what came of his work on trying to simplify some of the equations that describe the weather into a manageable form.

Until that point people had assumed that if you knew the initial conditions and had the correct equations you would be able to follow them through and predict the weather nicely. What Lorentz discovered was that instead of dying out, very minor differences in the initial conditions would lead very quickly to completely different end points. He used the metaphor of the butterfly to describe this.



[ Parent ]
Dangers of Inadvertant Weather Modification (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by Nursie on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 06:14:48 AM EST

So, will it not be dangerous for all to systematically modify the system?

My thoughts exactly.

I always wondered about wind farms too.
Harvesting power from the wind is all well and good, and clearly a much better option than burning stuff and filling the atmosphere full of carbon dioxide/monoxide/whatever, but with any elecricity generation the power has to come from somewhere.
If we suck energy out of the air currents passing over land or sea, then surely there must be an effect?
A lot of people (even environmentalists) don't seem to have grasped the fact that the earth is a finite system, sure it has input from the sun, but if we start removing energy from the system, what happens?

And don't even get me started on solar power :-)

Meta Sigs suck.

[ Parent ]
Where the energy comes from (5.00 / 2) (#73)
by Herring on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 03:51:39 PM EST

The Earth's rotation. Prevaling winds are caused by coriolis forces from the rotation of the planet. Yes, if you had enough wind generators, you could eventually slow the rotation of the earth. May take a while though ...


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
How can you be wrried about weather modification.. (4.00 / 2) (#69)
by Weembles on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 10:58:28 AM EST

...when we should be concentrating on wiping out those damn african butterflies! No hurricanes by 2010!

[ Parent ]
Dangers of NOT altering the weather (1.00 / 1) (#79)
by Nelziq on Thu May 01, 2003 at 05:01:49 PM EST

Hurricanes and Floods kill dozens and cause billions in property damage. I think that not changing the weather is pretty dangerous

[ Parent ]
kuro5hin at it's best (4.55 / 9) (#18)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:43:24 PM EST

see now, this is what kuro5hin is all about people:
  1. compelling topic
  2. not too big, not too small
  3. lucid, engrossing writing style
  4. high-dose vitamin L (the vital link nutrient)
  5. information-oriented, not ideology-oriented
overall: great, rich fodder for brain cell growth

+1 fp x 1000

thank you, imrdkl


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

You are too kind (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by imrdkl on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 05:39:36 PM EST

I'm glad that I was able to make it interesting.

[ Parent ]
Agree and disagree... (none / 0) (#54)
by skyknight on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 04:27:46 PM EST

This was, unarguably, a fantastic article, an exemplar for the kind of thing we should see in the technology section. It is also a model for articles in other sections as well, but I take issue with point five in your list. Opinion-oriented pieces are perfectly acceptable as far as I am concerned, as long as they make a legitimate attempt to work with facts, and avoid blatant distortions thereof. Unfortunately, others would not agree with this assertion.

Far too often, thoughtful, well written articles go down in flames, not because of some particular flaw, but rather because the currently active voting segment of K5 disagreed. I know this from personal experience. My last attempt managed to get 233 votes before being hurled into the abyss. I took this to mean that a lot of people voting against it were doing so on the grounds of disagreeing politically, rather than voting on its merits as a mechanism for provoking thought and spurring debate. This is unfortunate, as one of the most interesting aspects of online communities is the ability for discussion. While imrdkl's article was indeed great brainfood, you might note that it has not generated deep comment threads.

That's fine for any particular piece, but I like variety. I like to see science/tech/culture articles that are purely informational, but I also like to see articles that set off philosophical sparring matches. This doesn't necessarily entail flame wars; one can have a good, clean back-and-forth without resorting to ad hominem attacks, or being overly ideological. Calling someone a Randroid and voting their piece down because you disagree with their economic views does not strike me as sophisticated.

Appropriate use and perception of the story sections could go a long way to help this. If you're going to write an opinionated piece, then do so in the op-ed or politics section. Furthermore, if you're going to vote on an op-ed or politics section article, then do so based on the quality of the writing, the integrity of the facts, and the consistency of the logic; don't come into those sections and vote based upon whether you agree.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I try to write stories (none / 0) (#57)
by imrdkl on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:29:07 PM EST

Which give some fodder for commentary. But on average, my bits during the last year or so are less inducive to discussion than other writers on this site. I tell myself that's because of good research, and balanced coverage, but lets face it, some of my stuff is just plain boring. :)

Anyhow, one of the challenges in writing a good story about a controversial topic, like this one, or brain-magnets, or any of the others I've attempted lately is to gather and present enough fact and evidence to dissuade the skeptics - while leaving enough open ground to encourage the enlightened and experienced to share. Freality's HAARP comment above is a fine example.

Discussion as contribution to make a story complete is the epitome of a good article, imho. Especially when the article is sectioned somewhere that implies more than an half-cocked opinion to make a contribution. But writing that sort of an article is tricky - say too little, and get shot down, say too much, and lose the casual reader.

I do expressely try to avoid op-ed and politics of late. There seems to be no shortage of willing contributors there.

[ Parent ]

you my friend, get a +1FP (3.20 / 5) (#19)
by VoxLobster on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:52:39 PM EST

As soon as I saw that title, all I could picture was me, standing on top of a giant machine, wearing goggles and a cape and lauging maniacally!! MWA HA HA!!!!!!

VoxLobster
I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

Kate Bush ... (none / 0) (#31)
by joegee on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 07:01:31 PM EST

Someone should mention "Cloudbusting", although in the video she wasn't very convincing as Donald Sutherland's son. :)

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
China (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by tokugawa on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 02:55:48 PM EST

The People's Republic of China plans to manipulate the weather when hosting the olympics.


The Russians too (none / 0) (#56)
by imrdkl on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:08:17 PM EST

I found an article while researching this story that reported on the Russians holding back the rain during a recent games there. I think it was the Friendship Games, but the article went into archive mode before I finished writing the story, and now requires payment to view it.

[ Parent ]
And you think fights over water rights are bad now (4.60 / 5) (#25)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 04:25:02 PM EST

Fights over ground and river water rights are already nasty. Wait until countries start stealing each other's clouds...


--
Fishing for Men, Trolling for Newbies, what's the difference?


No time to look right now ... (none / 0) (#30)
by HypoLuxa on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 06:04:04 PM EST

... but I believe that Colorado has taken Utah to court over cloud seeding.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]
One application. (3.33 / 3) (#32)
by valeko on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 07:34:48 PM EST

One well-documented application of weather modification technology has been in the United States' relentless campaign of terrorism against Cuba and the Cuban people.

Citing Warren Hinckle and William Turner, William Blum, in Killing Hope, quotes:

During 1969 and 1970, the CIA depoyed futuristic weather modification technology to ravage Cuba's sugar crop and undermine the economy. Planes from the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in the California desert, where hi tech was developed, overflew the island, seeding rain clouds with crystals that precipitated torrential rains over non-agricultural areas and left the cane fields arid (the downpours caused killer flash floods in some areas).

I don't think this is nearly the most frightening thing the U.S. has done in Cuba. For instance, it doesn't compare to their release of African swine fever and even better, release of mosquito-bourne dengue fever that is pathogenic to humans. But it is still notable.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

that is interesting (none / 0) (#37)
by modmans2ndcoming on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:47:47 PM EST

so I guess they cared very little about there millitary based in cuba.

[ Parent ]
Uh. (none / 0) (#40)
by valeko on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:47:21 PM EST

I don't think they touched that part (it's one corner of the island), nor do I think that the agricultural situation in Cuba affected conditions on the base.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

well subjecting the island to air born disease (none / 0) (#50)
by modmans2ndcoming on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 11:54:44 AM EST

would effect the millitary base.

[ Parent ]
... Unless (none / 0) (#76)
by valeko on Thu May 01, 2003 at 08:04:54 AM EST

Unless it were confined to a region or the military were effectively immunised. And, Cuba's a fairly large island.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Links please (none / 0) (#45)
by flo on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:48:42 AM EST

For instance, it doesn't compare to their release of African swine fever and even better, release of mosquito-bourne dengue fever that is pathogenic to humans.
Could you please provide a link? I've heard rumours to that effect, but would like some hard data. That would make the USA the only country in the world to have employed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#62)
by forii on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 01:20:58 AM EST

That would make the USA the only country in the world to have employed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
The Soviet Union also had nuclear, biological, and nuclear weapons.


Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
[ Parent ]

By "employed" I meant used. (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by flo on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 05:34:21 AM EST

Of course, we all know that the USA is the only country ever to have used nukes. They have used chemical weapons (e.g. Vietnam). And, if the allegations are correct, then they have also used biological weapons against Cuba. Nice track record.
---------
"Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
[ Parent ]
Baboon fights! YEAH! n/t (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by Hamster on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:03:02 PM EST



god (3.50 / 2) (#36)
by freya on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 10:22:08 PM EST

damn, great article--thank you. now.must.go.sit and absorb.

George W. Bush's administration (4.80 / 5) (#39)
by grouse on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 11:14:49 PM EST

in Texas had no power, just like any other administration. Almost all important functions in Texas government are done by directly elected officeholders or boards. The governor may appoint members of these boards, but they are confirmed by the Senate and he cannot remove them. Many of them have terms longer than the governor. Calling one of these boards part of a governor's administration is like saying the same thing about the FCC, FTC or FEC1.

The particular board here was called the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC, pronounced "train-wreck"), but is now called the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

1 Yes this means that GWB had almost no real power before becoming President. Most consider the Lieutenant Governor to have a more powerful position than the Governor since he controls the budget proposal.

You sad bastard!

"Grouse please don't take this the wrong way... To be quite frank, you are throwing my inner Chi out of its harmonious balance with nature." -- Tex Bigballs

Nice article (n/t) (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by Siddhi on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 09:24:48 AM EST



US Military Atmosphere control: HAARP (4.60 / 5) (#47)
by freality on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 11:20:57 AM EST

There was an article on /. a while go titled "NASA Announces Enviromentally Friendly Jet Fuel ". There was a lot of argument over how damaging the shuttle's exhaust really is to the atmosphere. I got interested and so poked around and commented on some findings. There's an amazing document that you'll find posted around. Or, just do a search for HAARP on cryptome.org. Long story short, our military (and in a small way Russia's) has done some extremely wacky experimenting with Earth's atmosphere, e.g. inducing new permanent Van-Allen belts by exploding atomic and fusion bombs in the ionosphere and at the ozone layer.

HAARP is one the modern offsprings of this research. It stands for High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program. It's a military "radio research facility" in Alaska. Basically, they're researching how high-energy EMF waves can be used to alter the atmosphere for fun and profit. It's probably a pretty cool job, causing aurora, holes in the ionosphere, etc., but it's of course no wonder that it doesn't come under general public sanction (imagine asking just normal people if they want to poke holes in the radiation-protective layers of our atmosphere for military gain. ah! that'd be a great k5 poll!)

Their goal, from the document (which aren't too far away from the stated goals on the HAARP website):

  • Generate extremely low frequency (ELF) waves for communicating with submerged submarines
  • Conduct geophysical probes to identify and characterize natural ionospheric processes so that techniques can be developed to mitigate or control them
  • Generate ionospheric lenses to focus large amounts of high frequency energy, thus providing a means of triggering ionospheric processes that potentially could be exploited for Department of Defense purposes,
  • Electron acceleration for infrared (IR) and other optical emissions which could be used to control radio wave propagation properties
  • Generate geomagnetic field aligned ionization to control the reflection/scattering properties of radio waves,
  • Use oblique heating to produce effects on radio wave propagation, thus broadening the potential military applications of ionospheric enhancement technology.

There's an additional capability that is being researched:

"Ionospheric disturbances at high latitudes also can act to induce large currents in electric power grids; these are thought to cause power outages. Understanding of these and other phenomena is important to maintain reliable communication and power services."

I wonder if that research saw some practice over Baghdad recently, as the cause of the power outtage isn't clear.

Once you read the document, you get a nice burning feeling in your wallet area. It's those tax dollars hard at work!

Anyone ever researched the claims of this document? I've done some cursory poking around and it isn't too wide of the mark if at all, but would be interested to hear more.

This comment (1.00 / 1) (#53)
by Xcyther on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 03:34:20 PM EST

is bigger than alot of the posts around here

_________________________________________
"Insydious" -- It's not as bad as you think

[ Parent ]
They can use it to control your mind too! (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 08:30:13 PM EST

HAARP's EMF fields can induce any emotion The Man wants you to feel! Get out your tin-foil hats!

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

secret knowledge (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by khallow on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 04:28:49 PM EST

Who would have thought that K5 was highly knowledgeable on the subject of weather control? Guess there are many talents here. :-)

Stating the obvious since 1969.

This old thing? (none / 0) (#58)
by imrdkl on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 05:37:44 PM EST

I just threw this together on a whim. I knew nothing about it when I started, and am only marginally better informed now. This is the bain of armchair journalism. We can only become as smart as google wants us to be.

[ Parent ]
fucking google. (none / 0) (#78)
by garlic on Thu May 01, 2003 at 04:25:10 PM EST


HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Send some rain my way!!! (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Pyrion on Tue Apr 29, 2003 at 06:23:23 PM EST

Unlike most people I love bad weather. :)
--
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." - Bertrand Russell
We need to be careful (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by arvindn on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 12:47:59 AM EST

When we talk about modifying weather, we must consider how poorly it is currently understood. In fact, weather prediction was one of the main goals for early computer science research. But those hopes came crashing down in 1961(IIRC) when the chaos effect was discovered - which basically says that an infinitesimal change/inaccuracy in the starting parameters of a simulation can blow up into an error of arbitrarily large magnitude pretty quickly when you are modeling dynamic systems such as the weather. Weather prediction as a computer application, like AI, has never delivered what it promised.

Does this mean that we should pack up and go home? No. Because there are sure to be other methods. It's just that the computational approach to weather prediction is not very promising. For instance, animals have been known to detect impending natural disasters well in advance. So what I'm saying is that more research should go into other approaches which could lead to a much better understanding of weather and other natural phenomena than we currently do.

Now, if we had much better hurricane warning than we currently do, would we give as much consideration to diverting hurricanes? Probably not - we would consider other defensive measures.

I'm not a luddite or something - I'm not saying that we shouldn't modify the weather. All I'm saying is that we should understand it much better before we do a lot of modification lest we end up creating a problem that we are not in a position to tackle.

So you think your vocabulary's good?

Hurricanes, Tornados and Storms, Oh My! (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by jd on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 02:00:47 PM EST

I'll take it one step futher. Prediction is only necessary if the severe weather poses an actual threat to the individuals concerned. If you can modify buildings, cars, etc, to reduce the hazards posed by extreme weather, then there is nothing to be concerned about, unless you're standing outside in the direct path of whatever is coming your way.

Most of the damage caused by severe weather is caused by poorly-designed structures. A tin roof with gigantic eves makes a PERFECT sail, when the wind catches it.

Even modest rain will collapse a flat, poorly-drained roof.

I've often wondered what a house would look like, if we actually took weather into account. It would probably have many of the same features, but avoid the "hey, we make more money, if they have to replace it" attitude.

Let's take the eves on roofing. We obviously want to keep this feature, but we don't want the wind to be able to lift the roof off. One solution is to simply use better anchoring, so the uplift is not strong enough to cause damage. Another is to simply add hinges, so that an upwards force simply moves the eves out of the way. Once the force has died down, a simple spring can pull the eves back down.

Other destruction is caused by smaller objects being picked up and hurled against other objects, again such as buildings. The problem is that most walls are designed to handle vertical stresses, NOT horizontal stresses. As a result, such impacts can often collapse an otherwise excellent structure.

Shock-absorbing material in the airgap in the outer wall would help with this. A sloped or curved wall, so that exactly perpendicular collisions are much rarer, would also help.

[ Parent ]

Another way to stimulate rain (5.00 / 2) (#65)
by MickLinux on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 07:45:27 AM EST

Plant trees.  

It would seem that trees reach down to the water table, and when the humidity is near 100%, pump more water into the air to stimulate rain.

Where I live, there used to be gentle floods every year that watered and fertilized the farms.  These last two years it hasn't happened -- but our major export has been wood.  I haven't seen new woods planted, only new crops.

Anyhow, so next time you think about criticizing America's alternative to the Kyoto treaty, why not say "yeah, let's do it", and then take advantage of that to improve the climate in the third and second world?

Then, if that's not enough you can ask for more.

Learn from the Egyptians: they saw every one of their gods killing them. When you make a false god your idol, it starts to kill you. Doesn't matter i

subotimal (none / 0) (#66)
by fhotg on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 07:58:20 AM EST

The reason to make rain is because there is not enough terrestrial water reserve (groundwater). Increasing atmospheric humidity in the hope make rain while taking the necesary water just from where you like to have more (groundwater), sounds like really fucking stupid to me.

[ Parent ]
Not so stupid... (none / 0) (#67)
by Weembles on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 10:45:02 AM EST

I thought it was obvious that the poster was saying that you would get more rain out of the atmosphere than just the groundwater put in by the trees.

[ Parent ]
unfortunately, (none / 0) (#75)
by fhotg on Thu May 01, 2003 at 06:09:37 AM EST

meteorology is a branch of physics. You can't get around mass-balances.

[ Parent ]
Seems like a really inefficient solution.... (none / 0) (#68)
by ckaminski on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 10:50:38 AM EST

When some relatively small plutonium RTG could spend it's 20+ year lifespan desalinating water from the oceans.  Okay, maybe not an RTG, but a relatively small reactor on the order of 20-50 MW.

http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/About/GC/GC42/sciprog/gc42-scifor-5.pdf

So some people at least are thinking about it, particularly those desert dwellers who need the water most.

[ Parent ]

Producing rain (5.00 / 2) (#71)
by jd on Wed Apr 30, 2003 at 01:48:02 PM EST

  • Stop cutting down rainforest (and start replanting it). As another poster noted, trees draw up moisture. More to the point, though, they also alter the amount of heat reflected. The darker the ground, the more heat it absorbs, so the less heat it reflects. The result is a slight cooling of the atmosphere, which reduces the moisture that it can hold. This produces more rain.
  • Build semi-permeable reservoirs in countries with drought. The idea here is to produce the same effect as above, only artificially. You would build your reservoir as per normal, but then cover it with a black material - a semi-permeable membrane would be ideal, but plastic with slits cut in it would work just fine. The membrane absorbs the heat, as above, forcing rain. The rain falls and is trapped in the reservoir. The membrane prevents the water then evaporating, when the air gets too dry.
  • Over-saturate the atmosphere. This is the last-gasp type of method, but it's still more effective than cloud-seeding. For this, you want to build what amounts to a gigantic water heating element. Ideally, you just want to increase the rate of evaporation, but boiling the water would work just as well. Your aim is to produce a localized 100% saturation level in the atmosphere, during the day (when the heat in the atmosphere is greatest). By nightfall, the air will have moved on to your target area. The air cools, can't hold onto that level of water, and rains. With this, you've pretty much guaranteed rainfall within a given radius every night.

All the above methods, and cloud-seeding, will work. The problem with cloud-seeding is that it relies on a super-saturated atmosphere to really work. (Super-saturation is when the air holds MORE than 100% of the water that it theoretically can hold onto. The water is retained because conditions are such that the necessary water droplets cannot form.)

The point of the above three methods is that they don't rely on a pre-existing condition. Rather, they create from scratch the necessary conditions. This is generally better, because that will always work, precicely because it's not dependent on what's already there.

Cloud-seeding is also questionable, on environmental grounds. Russia uses cement dust as the seeding agent. True, it's going to spread out very thin, but the long-term damage is uncertain.

Of the above three methods, boiling a large bay is probably on the environmentally damaging list, but most sea creatures know well enough to stay away from very hot regions, so it's not as bad as it might first appear.

The other two approaches have relatively little impact. The first simply regenerates conditions that were previously there, and the second modifies a pre-existing structure. Any substantial damage has already occured with the reservoir construction.

well-researched and interesting article... (n/t) (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by yammering communist on Thu May 01, 2003 at 06:03:13 AM EST



---

I fear nothing. I believe nothing. I am free.

--Nikos Kazantzakis, epitaph.


this is the future (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by circletimessquare on Thu May 01, 2003 at 03:39:26 PM EST

in many parts of the world, people spend an inordinate amount of their time reducing whatever nature made of a place into a lawn.

why? psychologically speaking it appeals to us: it resembles the african savannahs in which we evolved into humans. that particular landscape of a suburban lawn has deep psychological appeal to us. it is where our human senses and physiology have maximum function: good vision/ reflexes/ manual dexderity, swift feet work best in the savannah.

this is why the game of golf appeals to us to. (i hate golf.)

but my point: we have molded the earth to fit our natural proclivities on a small case-by-base basis. in the future, we may mold the earth to fit our proclivities on a global basis.

our recent historical artificial experiment in greenhouse gas production will spur us in the near future, as the confluence of the evolution of our technology and our pressing needs to keep the atmosphere from going completely schizo, to actively maintain the earth's overall temperature.

but the earth naturally overheats and lapses into ice ages as well. and so, as natural forces that push and pull the earth from fire to ice take over as the biggest threat to the human-friendly weather status quo on earth come into play, we will be well-placed to resist those forces as well due to our experiences with resisting our own atmospheric gas mangling historical mistakes.

and so as long as human civilization lasts, the earth will be maintained in perfect, human-physiology-friendly equilibrium. like a goddamn suburban lawn.

no one mess with the global thermostat, capice?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Good Idea! (5.00 / 2) (#80)
by Alhazred on Thu May 01, 2003 at 05:13:51 PM EST

Yeah, this is great! Obviously we humans know exactly what we're doing...

Now we can 'improve' the weather and the climate just like we've 'improved' our forests, wetlands, oceans, grasslands, deserts, rain forests...

Goody! I'm all for this!
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.

Some other weather tweaks... (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by lpret on Thu May 08, 2003 at 06:55:45 AM EST

I thought I'd seen an article in Discover about tweaking the weather. Here it is: http://www.discover.com/sept_02/featrain.html. Great article that discusses some ways to stop tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. in an environmentally friendly way. Here's the company that is working on this stuff: http://www.dynomat.com/. With cheesy names like Dyn-o-drought and Dyn-o-Storm, who knows if anyone will take them seriously!

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. - Greek proverb

Putin orders no rain (none / 0) (#82)
by imrdkl on Sat May 24, 2003 at 02:54:54 PM EST

With a little help from cloudbusting

Weather Modification: Reduce Drought, Attack Enemies, and Divert Hurricanes | 82 comments (60 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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