"The technology is there, waiting for us to pull it all together" [General Gordon R. Sullivan, "Moving into the 21st Century: America's Army and Modernization," Military Review (July 1993) quoted in Mary Ann Seagraves and Richard Szymber, "Weather a Force Multiplier," Military Review, November/December 1995, 75].
A global, precise, real-time, robust, systematic weather-modification capability would provide war-fighting CINCs [an acronym meaning "Commander IN Chief" of a unified command] with a powerful force multiplier to achieve military objectives.
Since weather will be common to all possible futures, a weather-modification capability would be universally applicable and have utility across the entire spectrum of conflict. The capability of influencing the weather even on a small scale could change it from a force degrader to a force multiplier.
In 1957, the president's advisory committee on weather control explicitly recognized the military potential of weather-modification, warning in their report that it could become a more important weapon than the atom bomb [William B. Meyer, "The Life and Times of US Weather: What Can We Do About It?" American Heritage 37, no. 4 (June/July 1986), 48].
Today [since 1969], weather-modification is the alteration of weather phenomena over a limited area for a limited period of time. [Herbert S. Appleman, An Introduction to Weather-modification (Scott AFB, Ill.: Air Weather Service/MAC, September 1969), 1].
In the broadest sense, weather-modification can be divided into two major categories: suppression and intensification of weather patterns.
In extreme cases, it might involve the creation of completely new weather patterns, attenuation or control of severe storms, or even alteration of global climate on a far-reaching and/or long-lasting scale.
Extreme and controversial examples of weather modification-creation of made-to-order weather, large-scale climate modification, creation and/or control (or "steering") of severe storms, etc.-were researched as part of this study... the weather-modification applications proposed in this report range from technically proven to potentially feasible.
Applying Weather-modification to Military Operations
How will the military, in general, and the USAF, in particular, manage and employ a weather-modification capability? We envision this will be done by the weather force support element (WFSE), whose primary mission would be to support the war-fighting CINCs with weather-modification options, in addition to current forecasting support.
Although the WFSE could operate anywhere as long as it has access to the GWN and the system components already discussed, it will more than likely be a component within the AOC or its 2025-equivalent. With the CINC's intent as guidance, the WFSE formulates weather-modification options using information provided by the GWN, local weather data network, and weather-modification forecast model.
The options include range of effect, probability of success, resources to be expended, the enemy's vulnerability, and risks involved. The CINC chooses an effect based on these inputs, and the WFSE then implements the chosen course, selecting the right modification tools and employing them to achieve the desired effect. Sensors detect the change and feed data on the new weather pattern to the modeling system which updates its forecast accordingly. The WFSE checks the effectiveness of its efforts by pulling down the updated current conditions and new forecast(s) from the GWN and local weather data network, and plans follow-on missions as needed. This concept is illustrated in figure 3-2.
Two key technologies are necessary to meld an integrated, comprehensive, responsive, precise, and effective weather-modification system. Advances in the science of chaos are critical to this endeavor.
Also key to the feasibility of such a system is the ability to model the extremely complex nonlinear system of global weather in ways that can accurately predict the outcome of changes in the influencing variables. Researchers have already successfully controlled single variable nonlinear systems in the lab and hypothesize that current mathematical techniques and computer capacity could handle systems with up to five variables.
Advances in these two areas would make it feasible to affect regional weather patterns by making small, continuous nudges to one or more influencing factors. Conceivably, with enough lead time and the right conditions, you could get "made-to-order" weather [William Brown, "Mathematicians Learn How to Tame Chaos," New Scientist (30 May 1992): 16].
The total weather-modification process would be a real-time loop of continuous, appropriate, measured interventions, and feedback capable of producing desired weather behavior.
The essential ingredient of the weather-modification system is the set of intervention techniques used to modify the weather. The number of specific intervention methodologies is limited only by the imagination, but with few exceptions they involve infusing either energy or chemicals into the meteorological process in the right way, at the right place and time.
The intervention could be designed to modify the weather in a number of ways, such as influencing clouds and precipitation, storm intensity, climate, space, or fog.
"...significant beneficial influences can be derived through judicious exploitation of the solar absorption potential of carbon black dust" [William M. Gray et al., "Weather-modification by Carbon Dust Absorption of Solar Energy," Journal of Applied Meteorology 15 (April 1976): 355]. The study ultimately found that this technology could be used to enhance rainfall on the mesoscale, generate cirrus clouds, and enhance cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds in otherwise dry areas.
...if we are fortunate enough to have a fairly large body of water available upwind from the targeted battlefield, carbon dust could be placed in the atmosphere over that water. Assuming the dynamics are supportive in the atmosphere, the rising saturated air will eventually form clouds and rainshowers downwind over the land.
Numerous dispersal techniques [of carbon dust] have already been studied, but the most convenient, safe, and cost-effective method discussed is the use of afterburner-type jet engines to generate carbon particles while flying through the targeted air. This method is based on injection of liquid hydrocarbon fuel into the afterburner's combustion gases [this explains why contrails have now become chemtrails].
To date, much work has been done on UAVs [Unmanned Aviation Vehicles] which can closely (if not completely) match the capabilities of piloted aircraft.
If this UAV technology were combined with stealth and carbon dust technologies, the result could be a UAV aircraft invisible to radar while en route to the targeted area, which could spontaneously create carbon dust in any location.
If clouds were seeded (using chemical nuclei similar to those used today or perhaps a more effective agent discovered through continued research) before their downwind arrival to a desired location, the result could be a suppression of precipitation. In other words, precipitation could be "forced" to fall before its arrival in the desired territory, thereby making the desired territory "dry."
Field experiments with lasers have demonstrated the capability to dissipate warm fog at an airfield with zero visibility. Smart materials based on nanotechnology are currently being developed with gigaops computer capability at their core. They could adjust their size to optimal dimensions for a given fog seeding situation and even make adjustments throughout the process.
They might also enhance their dispersal qualities by adjusting their buoyancy, by communicating with each other, and by steering themselves within the fog. They will be able to provide immediate and continuous effectiveness feedback by integrating with a larger sensor network and can also change their temperature and polarity to improve their seeding effects [J. Storrs Hall, "Overview of Nanotechnology," adapted from papers by Ralph C. Merkle and K. Eric Drexler, Rutgers University, November 1995]. As mentioned above, UAVs could be used to deliver and distribute these smart materials.
Recent army research lab experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of generating fog. They used commercial equipment to generate thick fog in an area 100 meters long. Further study has shown fogs to be effective at blocking much of the UV/IR/visible spectrum, effectively masking emitters of such radiation from IR weapons [Robert A. Sutherland, "Results of Man-Made Fog Experiment," Proceedings of the 1991 Battlefield Atmospherics Conference (Fort Bliss, Tex.: Hinman Hall, 3-6 December 1991)].
The damage caused by storms is indeed horrendous. For instance, a tropical storm has an energy equal to 10,000 one-megaton hydrogen bombs [Louis J. Battan, Harvesting the Clouds (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1960), 120]. At any instant there are approximately 2,000 thunderstorms taking place. In fact 45,000 thunderstorms, which contain heavy rain, hail, microbursts, wind shear, and lightning form daily [Gene S. Stuart, "Whirlwinds and Thunderbolts," Nature on the Rampage (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1986), 130].
Weather-modification technologies might involve techniques that would increase latent heat release in the atmosphere, provide additional water vapor for cloud cell development, and provide additional surface and lower atmospheric heating to increase atmospheric instability. The focus of the weather-modification effort would be to provide additional "conditions" that would make the atmosphere unstable enough to generate cloud and eventually storm cell development.
One area of storm research that would significantly benefit military operations is lightning modification... but some offensive military benefit could be obtained by doing research on increasing the potential and intensity of lightning.
Possible mechanisms to investigate would be ways to modify the electropotential characteristics over certain targets to induce lightning strikes on the desired targets as the storm passes over their location.
In summary, the ability to modify battlespace weather through storm cell triggering or enhancement would allow us to exploit the technological "weather" advances.
This section discusses opportunities for control and modification of the ionosphere and near-space environment for force enhancement. A number of methods have been explored or proposed to modify the ionosphere, including injection of chemical vapors and heating or charging via electromagnetic radiation or particle beams (such as ions, neutral particles, x-rays, MeV particles, and energetic electrons) - [Peter M. Banks, "Overview of Ionospheric Modification from Space Platforms," in Ionospheric Modification and Its Potential to Enhance or Degrade the Performance of Military Systems (AGARD Conference Proceedings 485, October 1990) 19-1].
It is important to note that many techniques to modify the upper atmosphere have been successfully demonstrated experimentally. Ground-based modification techniques employed by the FSU include vertical HF heating, oblique HF heating, microwave heating, and magnetospheric modification [Capt Mike Johnson, Upper Atmospheric Research and Modification-Former Soviet Union (U), DST-18205-475-92 (Foreign Aerospace Science and Technology Center, AF Intelligence Command, 24 September 1992)].
Creation of an artificial uniform ionosphere was first proposed by Soviet researcher A. V. Gurevich in the mid-1970s. An artificial ionospheric mirror (AIM) would serve as a precise mirror for electromagnetic [EM]radiation of a selected frequency or a range of frequencies.
While most weather-modification efforts rely on the existence of certain preexisting conditions, it may be possible to produce some weather effects artificially, regardless of preexisting conditions. For instance, virtual weather could be created by influencing the weather information received by an end user.
Nanotechnology also offers possibilities for creating simulated weather. A cloud, or several clouds, of microscopic computer particles, all communicating with each other and with a larger control system could provide tremendous capability. Interconnected, atmospherically buoyant, and having navigation capability in three dimensions, such clouds could be designed to have a wide-range of properties... Even if power levels achieved were insufficient to be an effective strike weapon [if power levels WERE sufficient, they would be an effective strike weapon], the potential for psychological operations in many situations could be fantastic.
One major advantage of using simulated weather to achieve a desired effect is that unlike other approaches, it makes what are otherwise the results of deliberate actions appear to be the consequences of natural weather phenomena. In addition, it is potentially relatively inexpensive to do. According to J. Storrs Hall, a scientist at Rutgers University conducting research on nanotechnology, production costs of these nanoparticles could be about the same price per pound as potatoes [Ibid, Hall].
Weather affects everything we do, and weather-modification can enhance our ability to dominate the aerospace environment.
The US Army has already alluded to this approach in their concept of "owning the weather." Accordingly, storm modification will become more valuable over time [Mary Ann Seagraves and Richard Szymber, "Weather a Force Multiplier," Military Review, November/December 1995, 69].
As depicted, the technologies and capabilities associated with such a counter weather role will become increasingly important.
The importance of space weather-modification will grow with time. Its rise will be more rapid at first as the technologies it can best support or negate proliferate at their fastest rates.
The ability to modify the weather may be desirable both for economic and defense reasons. The global weather system has been described as a series of spheres or bubbles. Pushing down on one causes another to pop up [Daniel S. Halacy, The Weather Changers (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 202].
The lessons of history indicate a real weather-modification capability will eventually exist despite the risk.
The drive exists. People have always wanted to control the weather and their desire will compel them to collectively and continuously pursue their goal.
The motivation exists. The potential benefits and power are extremely lucrative and alluring for those who have the resources to develop it. This combination of drive, motivation, and resources will eventually produce the technology.
History also teaches that we cannot afford to be without a weather-modification capability once the technology is developed and used by others. Even if we have no intention of using it, others will. To call upon the atomic weapon analogy again, we need to be able to deter or counter their capability with our own.
As the preceding chapters have shown, weather-modification is a force multiplier with tremendous power that could be exploited across the full spectrum of war-fighting environments... But, while offensive weather-modification efforts would certainly be undertaken by US forces with great caution and trepidation, it is clear that we cannot afford to allow an adversary to obtain an exclusive weather-modification capability.
The complete original report can be found at http://www.au.af.mil/au/2025/volume3/chap15/v3c15-1.htm