"Who’ll stop the rain?
February 8, 2002 12:53 PM   Subscribe

"Who’ll stop the rain? Apparently our government and a few of their closest friends in the military industrial-complex. " According to this piece in Alternet, there's been an ongoing US Gov't. project since at least the 1970s whose aim is to manipulate the weather, largely to give us yet another edge in military superiority. If you have more time than I do, read this Air Force white paper on the subject - Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. I found the executive summary to be rather chilling.
posted by martk (4 comments total)
This is a very interesting read. Let me restate that - the link to the Air Force site was an interesting read. I was surprised that the piece in Alternet (originally from Columbus alive, described as a forum for the area's free thinkers) didn't think that maybe the technology could be used for good. I see a future where we could stop a hurricane from doing $12 Billion in damages, help farmers, get some real man-made snow for snowboarding among other things. Personally, the jury is still out on global warming as far as I'm concerned. Way too much conflicting data (for those who care to do their own research).

Everyone assumes that if the military is involved in a project, it must be evil. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few things they've built or been involved in that I find useful: ARPANet (now known as the internet), GPS, night vision (I like it on my Sony camcorder and camera and the DoD is working on Pegasus (the next generation of the internet). Do a search on "Dual Use Science and Technology Program" for mor informaiton on the advantages of having science and the military working on problems. Is it just me, or do ya think that if they wanted to do something evil, they could have kept it top secret so that we'd never hear about this until after it was in use.
posted by stormy at 2:48 PM on February 8, 2002

I can't help but question the wisdom involved in the US or any nation having control of the weather. The only solid thing that the global warming debate has proven is our gross lack of understanding concerning the weather. Supressing hurricanes might be good for the short term, but there's no way to tell what long term effects there might be.

Of course the whole supression of radio waves by controlling the ionosphere suggests less than altruistic motivations.
posted by EmergencyPenguin at 7:40 PM on February 8, 2002

OK, the alternet piece lost me the moment they mentioned chemtrails, which are an obsession of the tinfoil hat crowd. Purportedly those jet contrails you see are actually a Seekrit Gummint Projeck to manipulate the weather. They even have a whole sub-obsession of planespotters devoted to identifying which type of supposed chemtrail-layer plane is creating individual trails. Nobody's ever seen one of the animals on the ground, but you know, that's because the government won't let citizens onto Area 51.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the white paper (summarized, anyway) is intriguing, but doesn't really successfully address the basic problems with weather mod, namely a) imprecision of results and b) egalitarian effect. That is, you can't guarantee it's going to do what you need it to do (and if you don't need it, why are you wasting time, money, planes, and men on it?); and you know it's going to affect your guys as much as the other guy's. About the best you can say is that it might give you a temporary advantage in inhibiting supply logistics, but it's unlikely to have any specific tactically useful effects on enemy forces.

If you want to affect water supplies, you're better off bombing a dam (although it's more likely that eliminating the dam as a source of electric power will be more militarily important). But that's getting into the realm of desperation tactics, for use in a cataclysmic world war. Most of the time you can achieve what you need by just cutting off the logistical supply lines. The classic example is Vietnam, which was fought to a stalemate more or less solely on the basis of the geopolitical decision that the US couldn't do everything it needed to militarily to shut down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. (By contrast, in Afghanistan, the Soviets had no way of inhibiting the supply lines to the mujahedin from Pakistan and Iran. The one year they tried, by a series of near-border campaigns, they came close to direct conflict with the Paks. After that, they pretty much knew they were beaten.)

Although I suppose if one had the capability to send a hurricane or typhoon through an enemy naval expedition, there'd be every reason to consider it.
posted by dhartung at 7:54 PM on February 8, 2002

Or "surgical-strike" tornadoes! AIRPOWER!
posted by davidmsc at 8:47 PM on February 8, 2002

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