06. Counterfeiting Clouds

A Study in Infra-Red

Part six – Counterfeiting Clouds


"A thick, black cloud swirled before my eyes, and my mind told me that in this cloud, unseen as yet, but about to spring out upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe."

Dr Watson




Chemtrails Over California


Tangled Webs


Whilst skeptics claim that these are merely contrails from commercial jets consisting of harmless water, others maintain that they are in fact particulate trails originating from aerosols deliberately dispersed via jets for the purposes of geoengineering.


There are numerous features that support the claims of these anti-geoengineering activists,

  • The trails form grid patterns which are usually ascribed by skeptics to commercial airline flight patterns criss-crossing each other.




  • The flight patterns do not always correlate with commercial flight patterns, however. Some exhibit wild tangled flight patterns, others sudden, abrupt breaks, trails switching on or off, planes turning around and heading back in the opposite direction, planes flying in tandem with other planes, trails laid down ahead of weather systems and many other anomalous phenomena.







  • Many of the planes themselves have proven difficult to identify. These don’t show up on flight data. When both air traffic control and the Air Force have been contacted they have no knowledge of these planes. They do not always appear to be military but often resemble commercial aircraft. It is plausible to speculate on the existence of a private fleet of aircraft that look like “standard” planes, or even actual, empty of passengers, commercial ones, employed to blend in and supplement the genuine commercial fleet that may also be employed for geoengineering purposes. These aircraft, in addition to those of military origin, fly along strange paths that differ greatly from normal airline trajectories, seemingly with no fixed destination and flying around and around in circles.

Among the most important features in determining the existence of a deliberate campaign is the make-up of the artificial clouds themselves.


Contrails are artificially induced cirrus clouds. Like cirrus clouds they form from ice nucleating on small particles at around 10km, cruise altitude. These particles play an essential role in contrail formation.

According to mainstream scientists, there are two main kinds, short-lived and persistent contrails.


What is a short-lived contrail?


These trails last only a few minutes. There is only a small amount of atmospheric water available to form the contrail. The ice that forms around the aerosols returns to a vapour state very quickly.


What is a persistent contrail?


These remain in the sky long after the plane has disappeared. This shows that the air where the airplane is flying is quite humid, and there is a large amount of atmospheric water vapour available to form a contrail.


A further classification is known as a persistent spreading contrail. This is when the contrail spreads out, covering a large area, thousands of square kilometres, and is most likely to affect the climate.


Related phenomena, aviation-induced cirrus clouds, occur when particulates are released from aircraft, without visible trails, and later entrain water vapour from the atmosphere to form vast formations.


“Aviation-induced cirrus can occur through two different pathways: via contrails spreading out and by injection of aerosols into the upper troposphere to provide ice nuclei that may subsequently form cirrus clouds [Lee et al., 2009].”






The Circus in the Sky


Activists claim that chemtrails, are distinguished from contrails in that they do not dissipate quickly but persist and spread. This sounds like the distinction between short-lived and persistent contrails outlined above which is due to the availability or lack of atmospheric water vapour.


They also claim that, due to increasing public awareness, a new kind of chemtrail has emerged that does not have a visible trail, yet with particulates still being released. Again though, these phenomena sound a lot like aviation-induced cirrus clouds which can form without visible contrails.


According to the activists, chemtrails, unlike contrails are a relatively new phenomenon, originating from the 90’s.


However, whilst the sheer quantity, frequency and geographical range has expanded, persistent contrails have been observed to cover the sky and spread out since at least 1958.


Recently our sky has resembled a mob of exuberant sky riders performing an aerial circus.

The ‘contrails’ are breaking down into a haze and creating a cloud-like appearance in the sky.

The Air Force, so far, is flabbergasted.”

The Air Force figure its jets couldn’t blot out the sun short of a wing-to-wing mass flight like the European bombing raids of World War II.”

New Fuss Raised Over Jet Trails


As it so happens, a study has been carried out to assess the impact of those European bombing raids:


It was apparent to us that the Allied bombing of World War II represented an inadvertent environmental experiment on the ability of aircraft contrails to affect the energy coming into and out of the Earth at that location," said study researcher Rob MacKenzie who conducted the work at the Lancaster Environment Centre in the United Kingdom.   


Dense and persistent condensation trails or contrails were produced by daytime US Army Air Force (USAAF) bombing raids, flown from England to Europe during World War II (WW2). These raids occurred in years when civilian air travel was rare, giving a predominantly contrail-free background sky, in a period when there were more meteorological observations taken across England than at any time before or since.


“...a marked difference in the amount of high cloud cover, and a statistically significant (0.8 °C) difference in the 07:00–13:00 UTC temperature range


Cirrus clouds tend to have a cooling effect during daylight hours but a warming effect during night, with the net total resulting in warming. The heat trapping aspect overrides the sunlight reflecting aspect. This would be the main reason this study found a cooling as it only looked at 07:00–13:00 UTC, during the day.




It should also be borne in mind that, although the aircraft studied here generally flew at 18 000–30 000 ft (5.5–9 km), and therefore produced contrails at these altitudes, modern aircraft fly significantly higher at 35 000–40 000 ft (11–12 km). Lower, and therefore warmer, contrails will have a smaller effect in the infrared but a similar effect in the visible, so that we can expect WW2 contrails to have more of a cooling effect than contemporary contrails.”


This study seems to be biased towards representing contrails, contrary to the scientific consensus, as having a cooling effect. At one point it makes a peculiar error:


Haywood et al. (2009) examined a single persistent contrail formed by an airborne warning and control system aircraft and found that this single contrail produced a radiative forcing some 5000 times higher than recent estimates of the average persistent contrail radiative forcing from the entire civil aviation fleet. Their results suggested that, on balance, persistent contrails exerted an over-riding cooling effect on climate.


The Haywood et al. study emphatically did not find that persistent contrails exerted a cooling effect but rather a net-warming effect.


As expected, the net radiative effect is a relatively small residual of the much stronger but opposing SW and LW effects, locally totaling around 10 W m2 during daylight hours and 30 W m2 during nighttime.


That is most certainly a positive forcing – a warming. More on the Haywood et al. study later.


So far we have ascertained that what activists claim to be chemtrails, and skeptics claim to be persisting, spreading contrails, have the common factor of originating from particulates emitted from the jet that act as ice nuclei and seeds for human-induced cirrus clouds. 


If this were a deliberate operation, what would be its purpose?


Recall that in 1970, Wallace Murcray observed that contrails were becoming more frequent and might be having an effect on the underlying heat economy. He even linked this observation to projects for modifying the climate discussed by scientists such as Fletcher in 1965 who suggested using aircraft to seed clouds, the higher the more effective, as a means to warm the underlying atmosphere and surface of the Arctic region.


Murcray speculated that such projects were underway.


In 1968 Reid A. Bryson, a professor of Meteorology, claimed that jet aircraft contrails had increased cirrus cloud cover by 5% to 10% in the regions where jets had been operating.


He estimated that if the day came when 300 supersonic transports were in the air at one time, the region of operation of most SST’s “might easily be 100% covered with cirrus clouds.


Man Making Earth A Bad Place To Live, Professor Says


In the 1970s the problem of the unburned and partially burned hydrocarbons from jets was in the forefront of the public mind.This was resolved in the 80’s, when the High Bypass Turbofan began to be phased in, the transition being completed around 1995. This pumped in extra air to the engine which ran more efficiently as a result, not dumping unburned smoky fuel. These engines were now 90% efficient as compared with the earlier designs which were less than 20% efficient. As result, far less fuel was required to fly from one destination to another. By implication, presumably far fewer particulates of the kind that led to contrail cirrus were emitted.


If we assume a roughly five-fold increase in efficiency, then we can also assume a corresponding reduction in extra aviation induced cirrus cloud coverage from 5-10% to 1-2% in the regions where jets were operating.

However, since 1970, air traffic has increased by around ten-fold, this assumed extra cirrus cloud coverage should have also increased to around 10-20% in the regions where jets operate.

Olivier Boucher found a correlation between air traffic corridors, specifically the spatial distribution of aviation fuel consumption and the increase in cirrus cloud cover.

Over the ten-year period under study, with an average annual growth of 3.2% in total fuel consumption, he found cirrus frequency increased globally on average by 1.1% and 3.5% for land and ocean, respectively, with regional average increases of 2.9% to 4.6% over the principal flight corridors. 

This matches well with the HIRS polar orbiting satellite data reported by Wylie and Menzel which found that cirrus clouds had increased globally by 1.95% on average, per decade.

Over 4 decades that’s around an 8% global increase in cirrus cloud cover.

Boucher goes on to estimate the forcing that would result from these changes:

Experiment measurements of the net change in radiation associated with high thin clouds suggest a 0.2 W m2 per 1% of condensation trail or high-level cloudiness

I therefore estimate that the trend in cirrus amount over the continental regions of high air traffic (2.9% as discussed above) would correspond locally to an additional cloud radiative forcing of about 0.7 W m2

In the same vein, an 8% global increase in cirrus cloud cover over 4 decades would result in a global forcing of 1.6 W m2. Given that the forcing from increases in CO2 from 1979 (1.027 W m2 at 383ppm) to 2014 (1.909 W m2 at 481ppm) amount to 0.882 W m2, it is clear that aviation-induced cloud cover is a game-changing factor for the climate.

Others have also found this correlation between aircraft and cirrus cloud:

 “NASA scientists have found that cirrus clouds, formed by contrails from aircraft engine exhaust, are capable of increasing average surface temperatures enough to account for a warming trend in the United States that occurred between 1975 and 1994.”

 "This result shows the increased cirrus coverage, attributable to air traffic, could account for nearly all of the warming observed over the United States for nearly 20 years starting in 1975, but it is important to acknowledge contrails would add to and not replace any greenhouse gas effect," said Patrick Minnis, senior research scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. 

"This study demonstrates that human activity has a visible and significant impact on cloud cover and, therefore, on climate. It indicates that contrails should be included in climate change scenarios," Minnis said.” Emphasis mine


West coast contrails

“Above Image: These images from the NOAA-17 satellite taken during the morning of March 20, 2004, show how a contrail outbreak can appear to be regular cloud cover. The image on the left is a standard infrared satellite image, while that on the right uses two infrared wavelengths to reveal contrails. Many of the contrails appear to be from planes either coming from or going to central and southern California. Other contrails are due to aircraft on southeast-northwest tracks into Seattle and Portland. The contrails and resulting cirrus clouds are blown eastward by winds during the day.”

There is a remarkable difference between the images employing standard Infrared instrumentation and those employing enhanced. Such technology revealed 10-15% more cirrus cloud cover in the HIRS polar orbiting satellite data when compared to the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) which did not employ the more sophisticated instrumentation.

Is it not curious that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when assessing the impact of humans on the climate, makes use of the ISCCP, a project which is basically blind to the 10-15% more cirrus cover?

Thus far, we have established that commercial air traffic has played a role in increasing cirrus cloud-cover across the globe resulting in a warming effect to rival that of CO2. We have also glimpsed the intentions of international scientists back in the 60’s to utilize this effect deliberately in order to alter the climate. 






Ghost Riders

What indications do we have that this would be an orchestrated and clandestine campaign?

We would be looking for:

  • Trails that exhibit irregular flight paths that circle around and seem to have no fixed destination. This would be to maximize coverage and supplement and fine tune the coverage already caused by commercial air traffic.

  • Aircraft of non-commercial origin leaving behind such trails.

One particular study carried out in 2009, of a single contrail event morphing into a vast cirrus cloud covering 50,000km2 at its peak, has such features.

 “The radiative forcing due to a distinct pattern of persistent contrails that form into contrail-induced cirrus near and over the UK is investigated in detail for a single case study during March 2009.

The development of the contrail-induced cirrus is tracked using a number of high-resolution polar orbiting and lower-resolution geostationary satellite instruments and is found to persist for a period of around 18 h, and at its peak, it covers over 50,000 km2.