[CrashList] Weather Weapons

Charles Brown CharlesB at cncl.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Nov 9 10:35:36 MST 2000

>From the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:


Man-Made Weather: A Weapon of the Future?

By Nico Stehr

DELMENHORST. At the recent Fifth German Climate Conference, a climate expert
and I gave a joint paper on man-made climate disasters that were threatening
man in historic times. After we had spoken, a participant approached us and
told us about research carried out by the U.S. Air Force. The findings were
reported back in 1996 but have since been generally ignored. The research
paper is available at www.au.af.mil/au/2025/ on the Web.

All past climate catastrophes caused by man pale in comparison to the
study's findings, which are but a taste of things to come in the next
quarter century. He who controls the weather, controls the world.

In 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution prohibiting the
hostile use of environmental modification techniques. The resulting
convention (ENMOD, Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other
Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Technique) committed the
signatories -- which include the United States -- to refrain from any
military or other hostile use of weather-modification that could result in
widespread, long-lasting or severe effects on the economy and society. In
the 1996 study, seven military officers considered how the weather might be
used as a weapon. Their task was to ensure that the United States remained
the dominant power in aviation and space travel in the year 2025. The study
concludes that America's airborne military forces can "own" and control the
weather. This would promote the development of new technology, and that
technology will provide the "warriors of the future" with undreamt-of
resources for controlling the course of military conflicts, the study

The byword here is weather modification, in the sense of increasing or
decreasing the intensity of natural phenomena. Taken to an extreme, this
could include creating entirely new weather phenomena (made-to-order
weather) and include manipulation of the global climate. But because of the
probable conflict with the ENMOD convention, the study concentrates on
influencing weather processes in geographic areas only up to 2,000 square
kilometers (800 square miles). What is at stake becomes clear when the
authors of the research paper talk of a dilemma akin to that once faced by
the pioneers of nuclear research. They stress that only those who are
prepared to capitulate strategically could want to renounce the military use
of weather modification.

But what are the technologies that will give those who control them in the
next 30 years the means for planning weather and actually creating weather
patterns? Weather control techniques -- some already exist -- can be
improved in four ways: by using complex non-linear modeling systems,
increasing computing capacity, improved data collection and transmission,
and by the creation of a globally operative military weather network.

Specific operations to curtail an opponent's operating ability and improve
one's own could include manipulation of precipitation, storms and fog, but
could also involve controlling the ionosphere to guarantee dominance of
worldwide communication. The research paper does not yet speak of
controlling temperature.

The report explains how military encounters could be decided through weather
manipulation. It cites the following example: It is the year 2025 and a
South American drug cartel has purchased hundreds of Russian and Chinese
fighter planes. So far, the drug barons have been able to protect their
production facilities from every attack. The cartel controls the skies and
is able to launch 10 of its own planes for each American fighter. It also
has a sophisticated French air defense system. Despite all this, the
American military want to engage the enemy.

The air force meteorologists are to play a crucial role. They point out to
the air force that there is a thunderstorm nearly every afternoon in the
equatorial regions of South America. The U.S. Secret Service knows that the
cartel pilots are reluctant to fly in or near thunderstorms. So the weather
force support element is tasked not only to forecast storm paths, but also
to trigger or intensify thunderstorms over critical target areas. And as
U.S. fighters fly in any type of weather, they are able to snatch control of
the skies from the enemy. Moreover, it is likely the air force will
routinely use unmanned drones to manipulate the weather by 2025.

These operations will be supported by highly developed, sophisticated
technologies for data collection, weather forecasting and weather
manipulation. The unmanned craft can spread cirrus clouds over areas of
military deployment. Not only does this deprive people on the ground of a
clear view, it also prevents them from using their infrared equipment
properly. While microwave heaters create local zones of destructive
interference to restrict the use of radar-controlled equipment, the
naturally occurring thunderstorm is artificially intensified. It is all part
of the game plan. The weather force support element watches the complete
operation and reports another -- by now routine -- successful deployment of
the weather weapon.

It is therefore not only possible, but highly likely that such systematic
weather modification will become a potent, accurate and globally available
weapon of war. It could be used in all conceivable conflicts. Weather is not
only everywhere: It is at the same time the most implacable enemy of the
ruled and of the rulers, as this report illustrates. In future, the weather
may be party to a conflict.

Systematic attempts to influence the weather by technical means have existed
for a considerable time. However, these efforts have not been particularly
successful so far, for example attempts to control precipitation in arid
areas or during droughts. Rainmaking is certainly possible in certain
situations. But these situations are rare and not easy to control -- given
the complexity of weather systems. The authors of the U.S. Air Force
research paper were clearly aware of these facts. Thus, they speak of
significant and fast progress in our understanding of the variables that
affect weather. They are certain that by 2025, it should be possible to
identify and parameterize all important weather factors. The authors also
say there must be quick and meaningful technical progress so that
micro-meteorology can develop into a discipline that is technically sound
and practical. As things now stand, implementing the report's ideas appears
utopian and expensive. Furthermore, that implementation could be hindered by
initiating contrary processes.

The major significance of the weather for the living conditions of a rapidly
growing world population could, however, also cause appropriate resources to
be provided for research into improving our knowledge of the weather.
Summing up: It is likely that by 2025, man will have taken the step from
scenario planning to effective weather modification. The military uses of
this knowledge are obvious.

Nico Stehr is a Fellow of the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in

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