Friday, November 04, 2005

Contrails Over Springfield Illinois

Image hosted by
Photo: All Cloud Cover In This Photo A Result of Contrails

Image hosted by Photo: Springfield, Illinois Skyline Defined By Jet Contrails

Image hosted by
Photo: Morning Contrails @ Stanford & Sixth Springfield, IL 11.03.05

While watching CNN a few days ago I noticed a segment which referrenced Weather Wars. The story used several intriguing satellite images of contrail tracks which appeared to be responsible for creating virtually all cloud cover over the imaged region. The speculation which was at the heart of the story was whether or not the U.S. Military is secretly testing, or employing some type of weather modification program. Watching that story has rekindled in me a decades long interest in the subject, and so I'll share some of my ideas on this topic in coming post.

The topic of this post is the role of contrails in the formation of cloud cover. Contrails are created by jet aircraft flying at high altitudes. The steady increase in the number of jets flying over the United States has become apparent to anyone who simply looks up. The number of contrails also appears to have significantly increased. The formation of contrails is now under suspicion of playing a major role in the phenomena of global dimming.

This increased air traffic combined with other factors such as global warming, increased pollution levels at high altitudes (China's polluted air is now flowing over the United States), and possible impurities in jet aviation fuel appear to be allowing the creation of super contrails.

A recent change in FAA rules allowing jets to fly in tighter air corridors (due to increased traffic) also appears to be a contributory factor.

Contrails at formation appear as narrow streaks in the sky soon spread, and seed cloud formation at very high altitudes. These cirrus cloud formations, unlike lower cloud formations, reflect large amounts of solar radiation back into space, and therefore have a cooling effect upon the suface below.

On many otherwise cloudless days the vast majority, if not all, overcast appears to be the result of cirrus clouds which formed as the result of contrails. The exact impact of air pollution upon climate is still a heatedly debated topic, but it doesn't take much analytic prowess to understand that our weather is being altered by pollution, and contrail formation.

I doubt that there is a massive conspiracty by the petrochemical, and aviation industry to alter weather in some way through the creation of contrails. Having said that doesn't mean that I don't believe that those industries aren't aware of the problem, and are failing to address it.

The federal government is perhaps the only entity which has appropriate jurisdiction to regulate the skies over the United States, and it appears that the current adminstration is unconcerned about global warming, and the prevention of environmental damage due to industrial pollution.

So this massive weather experiment, whether by design, or not will continue. The next time you get a chance take a look up - you may be disturbed by what you see. Stay tuned for additional post - perhaps even more controversial on this topic! I also want to thank Jan, you know who you are for helping me see the importance of getting these ideas in writing! Thanks Jan!


La Lubu said...

Hmm. Food for thought.

On 9/11, I was working at the Shell Oil Refinery in Wood River. Me and my road buddy figured it would be an excellent day to get the hell out of there and go home! (This, after I originally thought he was bullshitting about the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; he came back from his smoke break as I was talking to another brother from the Local when he very animatedly told us about it. Since he had a long, time-honored tradition in our Local of pulling fast ones, we just rolled our eyes. He was pissed. "Don't believe me, you fuckers!!" as we walked to the break trailer, where by that time, everyone was sitting in silence listening to the radio.)

It was an eerie drive back, because of the lack of contrails. The total lack of contrails. In the metro-east area, you tend to see a lot of them due to Scott AFB and Lambert Airport in St. Louis. For the first time in my life, I was looking up at a sky with no contrails. And I couldn't help but think of the movie "The Day After", where airspace was cleared, too.

JeromeProphet said...

I remember the days following 9/11 too. Not a contrail in the sky. A vast ocean of blue from one horizon to the other.

It was quite telling of the impact of the aviation industry on our skies.

Two generations of Americans have no idea what their sky actually should look like.

Of course I also remember being able to look up into the night sky, and see the Milky Way.

That I find sadder still. It's as if we are slowly being enclosed in a ping pong ball as the Earth slowly comes to resemble Venus.


La Lubu said...

Of course I also remember being able to look up into the night sky, and see the Milky Way.

Me too. High-pressure sodium lamps cause the light pollution that obscures the night sky (that orange glow you see surrounding cities from the interstate). Have you heard of the Dark Sky Movement?

Olivier said...

There's no conspiracy, just air traffic excess. This is a catastrophy, because the sunlight is getting whiter and whiter, killing bees and flies becaue their eyes can't stand this new light. There will be more and more humidity and no one can be sure that nature will stand that much longer...

email jp






Wired News: Top Stories