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Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare

“Climate change is an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows, and conflicts over basic resources like food and water. The present day effects of climate change are being felt from the Arctic to the Midwest. Increased sea levels and storm surges threaten coastal regions, infrastructure, and property. In turn, the global economy suffers, compounding the growing costs of preparing and restoring infrastructure.” Notes White House, National Security Strategy, February 2015.

 

To date, most research on countering the impacts of climate change has focused on mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions or on adapting human and natural systems to make them more resilient to the effects of a changing climate. Recently a committee was convened by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to consider a third option, climate intervention, also known as geoengineering.  Geoengineering technologies (GTs) are generally placed into two categories: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal. With climate change accelerating, there is increasing pressure to develop new technologies that could suck CO2 from the atmosphere or block the sun’s heat. Some of the technologies under discussion could have unpredictable effects that do not respect national boundaries.

 

Environmental modification is generally being  implemented to alleviate environmental risks or to improve access to natural resources. Currently there are large number of countries experimenting with weather modification. There are  52 countries that have doing weather modification programs, increasing from 47 in 2013. In the USA alone there are 39 active weather modification programs according to Report of WMO Expert Committee on Weather Modification Research. And now, NASA’s own satellite images have revealed what’s being referred to as “shocking proof of climate engineering.”According to Dane, Africa’s coastal regions are a hotbed for geoengineering efforts despite being referred to in the mainstream media as just the result of “dust” in the air.

There are also fears that weather shall be weaponized as in the past. The environment is manipulated during armed conflicts is unsurprising. Historically, it has been pursued in a number of ways and for a variety of reasons, from weather modification to the physical alteration of natural landscapes.

 

In Nov 2020, China launched  16 “artificial rain enhancement rockets”  off the back of a pickup truck 300 miles south of Beijing. The operation, ordered up by the Juye County Meteorological Bureau in response to a local drought, was reportedly a success. Over the next 24 hours, the county received more than two inches of rain that, according to local officials, alleviated the drought, lowered the risk of forest fires and improved air quality. In Dec 2020, China announced plans to expand its rainmaking capabilities to cover nearly 60% of the country by 2025. Details are sketchy, but fears are rising about the potential military uses of these capabilities, and their effects on an already changing climate. For China, and the world, these concerns need to be addressed soon.

 

Other Asian countries are increasingly concerned that China’s program could negatively affect the monsoons and regular rains that have fed their people for millennia.  In a region where tensions are already rising over access to water, weather modification threatens to look like a weapon.

 

CIA chiefs fear hostile nations are trying to manipulate the world’s weather, a conference heard. However, he told the callers that any attempts to meddle with the weather on a large scale would be detectable. However US itself has been accused of  using weather modification for military purposes. Professor Robock told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in San Jose, that the During the Vietnam War, US scientists tried to increase rainfall to hamper the enemy’s progress by spraying particles into the clouds. And the CIA seeded clouds over Cuba ‘to make it rain and ruin the sugar harvest’. “Weather has always affected military operations, and as the climate changes, the way we execute operations may be altered or constrained . . . Climate change will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security.”

 

 

 

Geoengineering as a Solution to Climate Change and security threat

Geoengineering technologies (GTs) are generally placed into two categories: solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal. Carbon dioxide removal and albedo-modification techniques have been grouped up until now under the common term “geoengineering,” but they vary widely with respect to environmental risks, socio-economic impacts, cost, and research needs.

 

Solar radiation management seeks ‘to offset the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations by reducing the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the Earth’. Technologies that prevent sunlight from reaching Earth’s surface could reduce average global temperatures within a few years, similar to the effects of large volcanic eruptions.  It involves techniques that aim to increase albedo (the amount of reflected sunlight) such as injecting sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere, injecting sea salt aerosols to brighten clouds and increase their reflectivity, brightening the Earth’s structures and surfaces, or installing solar deflector panels in space.

 

While many albedo-modification techniques have been proposed, the committee said two strategies that could potentially have a significant impact are injection of aerosols into the stratosphere and marine cloud brightening. The ‘marine cloud brightening’ technique modifies the low clouds to make them more reflective thereby cooling the climate. Unlike carbon dioxide removal, these methods would not require major technological innovation to be implemented and are relatively inexpensive compared with the costs of transitioning to a carbon-free economy. However, albedo-modification techniques would only temporarily mask the warming effect caused by high CO2 concentrations, and present serious known and possible unknown environmental, social, and political risks, including the possibility of being deployed unilaterally and should not be deployed at this time.

 

Carbon dioxide removal addresses the root cause of climate change — high concentrations of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere — and generally have well-understood benefits and risks. Various methods of carbon removal and sequestration have been proposed to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. Amongst them are terrestrial methods like afforestation, and the enhancement of natural carbon sinks, biomass-based techniques and carbon capture and storage; maritime methods such as ocean fertilisation to increase oceanic carbon storage; and chemical techniques, both terrestrial and maritime, including direct air capture and enhanced chemical weathering.

 

The drawback, however, is that these approaches act slowly and are difficult to scale to the problem at hand. Strategies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are limited by cost and technological immaturity. Ocean iron fertilization (OIF) is one approach to carbon dioxide removal that might bear adverse environmental consequences. The NAS Committee recommended more research before OIF could be considered as an effective or safe strategy. Large-scale deployment would cost as much or more than replacing fossil fuels with low carbon-emission energy sources, the committee said. In particular, research is needed to minimize energy and materials consumption, identify and quantify risks, lower costs, and develop reliable sequestration and monitoring capabilities.

 

The main finding of the report is that climate intervention is not a substitute for mitigation or adaptation. Efforts to address climate change should continue to focus most heavily on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in combination with adapting to the impacts of climate change because these approaches do not present poorly defined and poorly quantified risks and are at a greater state of technological readiness. Climate intervention strategies are at a very early stage of development. There is no substitute for dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change, a National Research Council committee concluded in a two-volume evaluation of proposed climate-intervention techniques.

 

Another uncertainty involves the environmental security risks that might arise in third countries. The development and employment of locally relevant GTs will be expensive, most likely limiting the use of these technologies to wealthier state or non-state actors. Poorer countries might lack the financial means to participate, but may nonetheless be faced with their potentially harmful, transboundary consequences. Larger-scale climate change interventions can realistically only be developed and employed through a global coalition, but one potentially skewed towards the interests of its more privileged participants: a future example of climate injustice. It may also be difficult to achieve a consensus as some countries may benefit from climate change. It is during this phase of deliberation that there are bound to be the most obstacles.

Weather Modification

To date, most research on countering the impacts of climate change has focused on mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions or on adapting human and natural systems to make them more resilient to the effects of a changing climate. Recently a committee was convened by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to consider a third option, climate intervention, also known as geoengineering.

 

The main finding of the report is that climate intervention is not a substitute for mitigation or adaptation. Efforts to address climate change should continue to focus most heavily on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions in combination with adapting to the impacts of climate change because these approaches do not present poorly defined and poorly quantified risks and are at a greater state of technological readiness. Climate intervention strategies are at a very early stage of development.

 

“Technology advancements in five major areas are necessary for an integrated weather-modification capability: (1) advanced nonlinear modeling techniques, (2) computational capability, (3) information gathering and transmission, (4) a global sensor array, and (5) weather intervention techniques, write Dr. Barnes .

 

However, continuous improvement of supercomputing capability from petaflops to exaflops allow militaries to design weather modification programs. In latest rankings, Sunway TaihuLight, a system developed by China’s National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC), and installed at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, maintains its number one ranking for the fourth time, with a High Performance Linpack (HPL) mark of 93.01 petaflops. In January, China’s national supercomputer centre said it would have a prototype exascale computer built by the end of 2017 and operational by 2020.

Scorched earth policies are military tactics aimed at destroying a given area and depriving it of anything of value to an opponent or civilians. This can include food, water, shelter, natural resources and critical civilian infrastructure. The Soviet Union employed this strategy in its withdrawal from Ukraine in WWII with the goal of slowing the German advance by rendering the region useless to the advancing forces. They would also come to deploy it in Afghanistan in the 1980s in an effort to subdue the Mujahideen. Cases of scorched earth policies continue to the present day, for example the Islamic State’s punitive devastation of agricultural areas in northern Iraq, and the oil fires and spills it caused.

 

Infrastructure as weapon

Scorched earth policies are military tactics aimed at destroying a given area and depriving it of anything of value to an opponent or civilians. This can include food, water, shelter, natural resources and critical civilian infrastructure. The Soviet Union employed this strategy in its withdrawal from Ukraine in WWII with the goal of slowing the German advance by rendering the region useless to the advancing forces. They would also come to deploy it in Afghanistan in the 1980s in an effort to subdue the Mujahideen. Cases of scorched earth policies continue to the present day, for example the Islamic State’s punitive devastation of agricultural areas in northern Iraq, and the oil fires and spills it caused.

 

Conflict parties often use their surroundings for military advantage. This includes the strategic use of environmental infrastructure such as water networks, and environmentally hazardous industrial facilities. Such weaponisation is commonplace and, as societies grow ever more dependent on environmental infrastructure for social and economic life, the consequences of its hostile use by warring parties grow ever more serious.

 

The weaponisation of water infrastructure provides one such example. Dams, pumping stations, treatment plants or pipelines may become the object of deliberate attack in order to subdue the civilian population. Alternatively, they may be captured and actively weaponised against an opponent. This weaponisation of water can take many forms, from diverting or disrupting water routes to flooding large areas of land, and impact both enemy forces and civilians alike. Environmental warfare of this sort has been witnessed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Israel’s intentional targeting of water pipelines and sewage systems in Gaza. Such destructive tactics have also proven particularly attractive to non-state armed actors.

 

Another potential future conflict where weather shall play important role is Arctic. As the Global warming is melting the Arctic ice, and opening up new shipping trade routes and real estate, intense resource competition over an estimated $1 trillion untapped reserves of oil, natural gas and minerals has started. Russia is acting quickly to become dominating Geostrategic and Military power in the Arctic. As Russia beefs up its Arctic presence with new units, equipment and weaponry for the cold weather fight, the US Army has slowly begun to shift some resources to improving its own capabilities — though it lags behind its Arctic allies and lacks large-scale capacity to train or provide high numbers of troops for a potential Arctic battle.

 

“Everything is hard. Everything is more difficult,” Carroll said. “When the wind is blowing at freakin’ 30 miles per hour, it’s dark 24-7, and it’s minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ve got to put your gear in your pack, get out of your rack, get out of your sleeping bag, get outside the tent and go do something — everything is hard.” Kyle Mizokami writes in The Week, “It would be two wars: one against the human enemy, which would often be hundreds of miles away and seldom seen, and another, constant war against the elements. Both would be trying to kill you.

 

The world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use. Many considered HAARP as tool for weather warfare that could be used to triggering Earthquakes and mind control. Rosale Bertell, president of the international institute of concern of physical health said that HAARP operates as ‘a gigantic heater that can cause major disruptions in the ionosphere, creating not just holes, but long incisions in thee protective layer that keeps radiation from bombarding the planet’. Even though USAF officially transferred its control of HAARP in 2015, it is speculated that there are other HAARP systems out there in the form of radar communication and surveillance systems that are rigged on top of mobile platforms that are deployable in any international waters around the world.

 

Weather Warfare

Weather Warfare refers to manipulating climate or weather for military use. Weather Modification according to US air force document AF 2025 final report, “offers the war fighter a wide range of options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes;’ Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even could be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather and the production of artificial weather all are part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.

 

A global, precise, real-time, robust, systematic weather-modification capability would provide war-fighting commander in chief CINCs with a powerful force multiplier to achieve military objectives, write Col Tamzy J. House and others in “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.”  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.

 

 

 

Precipitation Enhancement and Suppression

While many military operations may be influenced by precipitation, ground mobility is most affected. Influencing precipitation could prove useful in two ways. First, enhancing precipitation could decrease the enemy’s trafficability by muddying terrain, while also affecting their morale. Second, suppressing precipitation could increase friendly traffic ability by drying out an otherwise muddied area

 

During Vietnam war in 1967, “cloud seeding techniques” were used under project POPEYE to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The public did not learn of this until 1974, two years after the program wound down in failure.

China’s radical $168 million weather control system

The Chinese government has approved a $168 million plan (1.15 billion yuan) to modify the country’s weather, potentially bringing more rain and snow across an area almost double the size of France. It’s one of the biggest programs of its kind, and will rely on four new planes, eight upgraded craft, 897 rocket launch devices, and 1,856 devices connected to digital control systems, according to the South China Morning Post.

 

With weather-modifying technology, the China Meteorological Administration estimates it will increase precipitation in an area of 960,000 sq km – 10 percent of the country’s territory. Officials say the project will take three years to complete. Many countries, including China, have turned to ‘cloud seeding’ in the past to relieve drought. This process relies on the use of a catalyst, such as dry ice, to induce rainfall from the clouds. And, weather modification by firing chemicals into the sky has also become more popular across the country, according to SCMP.

 

Artificial rainfall enhancement has recently become a way to help ‘clean up’ the smog-filled air of the cities. According to He Shengcun, an official at the Qinghai provincial government’s ‘weather influencing’ office, these techniques have led to an increase in precipitation by 55 billion cubic metres from 2006 to 2016, SCMP reports.

 

China currently uses weather modification technology – including cloud seeding – to induce rain during droughts, to reduce hail, and to clear the skies ahead of prestigious international events, including the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The  country manipulated the weather over Beijing just before and during the 2008 Beijing Olympics to ensure a rain-free event. China aims to use weather modification technologies to create more than 60 billion cubic metres of additional rain a year by 2020, it said in a document published at the beginning of last year.

 

China is launching the world’s largest weather-control machine. China’s state-owned Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is implementing a plan to send thousands of rain-inducing machines across the Tibetan Plateau to increase rainfall along the region. The Tibetan Plateau is the source of much of China’s water.

 

The practice has only grown in scale as part of the Sky River Project aimed at increasing China’s water resources. Tens of thousands of … machines will produce very fine silver iodide particles that are then lifted into the atmosphere. By artificially “seeding” the Tibetan Plateau with silver iodide particles the Chinese government is inducing the formation of clouds where there weren’t any before. Once the clouds become unstable, this leads to artificially induced rainfall. Each rain machine (chamber) is expected to create a 3-mile long strip of billowing clouds. When multiplied by the thousands of chambers China is installing along the Tibetan Plateau, it is estimated that China will be artificially controlling the weather over an area similar to the size of Alaska. China plans to monitor the system through weather satellites and supplement with silver iodide particles deployed from planes and shot out of ground artillery.

 

Fog Enhancement and Suppression

A research paper produced for the United States Air Force written in 1996 speculates about the future use of nanotechnology to produce “artificial weather”, clouds of microscopic computer particles all communicating with each other to form an intelligent fog that could be used for various purposes.

 

Smart materials based on nanotechnology 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. UAVs could be used to deliver and distribute these smart materials.

 

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. This technology would enable a small military unit to avoid detection in the IR spectrum. Fog could be generated to quickly, conceal the movement of tanks or infantry, or it could conceal military operations, facilities, or equipment. Such systems may also be useful in inhibiting observations of sensitive rear-area operations by electro-optical reconnaissance platforms.

 

Storm Enhancement and Suppression

The desirability to modify storms to support military objectives is the most aggressive and controversial type of weather-modification. The damage caused by storms is indeed horrendous. For instance, a tropical storm has an energy equal to 10,000 one-megaton hydrogen bombs, and in 1992 Hurricane Andrew totally destroyed Homestead AFB, Florida, caused the evacuation of most military aircraft in the southeastern US, and resulted in $15.5 billion of damage.

 

However, as one would expect based on a storm’s energy level, current scientific literature indicates that there are definite physical limits on mankind’s ability to modify storm systems. By taking this into account along with political, environmental, economic, legal, and moral considerations, we will confine our analysis of storms to localized thunderstorms and thus do not consider major storm systems such as hurricanes or intense low-pressure systems.

Lasers to control weather

Experts from the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona believe that by firing a series of laser beams, they can activate the static electricity and induce rain and storms.

 

Clouds contain static electricity which holds the condensation. One beam would be fired, and this beam would be surrounded by another beam which acts as an energy reservoir – which will allow the laser to be sustained for longer and prevent dissipation.Laser beams can travel vast distances, but “when a laser beam becomes intense enough, it behaves differently than usual – it collapses inward on itself,” said Matthew Mills, a graduate student in the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL).

He said: “The collapse becomes so intense that electrons in the air’s oxygen and nitrogen are ripped off creating plasma – basically a soup of electrons.” The laser can activate the static electricity. When it reaches that point, the laser tries to spread the beam out and eventually collapses in on itself.This struggle is known as “filamentation” and creates a “light string” that only lasts for a short time before it disperses.

Mr Mills said: “Because a filament creates excited electrons in its wake as it moves, it artificially seeds the conditions necessary for rain and lightning to occur.

 

The ENMOD Convention

In 1977, UN International Convention was ratified by UN general assembly which banned “military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long lasting or severe effects”. It defined “environmental modification techniques” as ‘any technique for changing-through deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.’ The substance of 1977 convention was reasserted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC) signed in 1992.

 

The Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques, or ENMOD, entered into force in October 1978 with the following objective: Each State Party to this Convention undertakes not to engage in military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects as the means of destruction, damage or injury to any other State Party. ENMOD defines an EMT as ‘any technique for changing – through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.’2

 

The ENMOD Convention, ‘the first and, so far, the only international treaty to specifically address means of methods of environmental warfare,’3 was approved in 1976 by UN General Assembly resolution 31/72 in response to international concern over the use of military tactics that could manipulate and damage the environment. Attention on the weaponisation of the environment had increased after the US’s use of weather modification techniques – cloud seeding – and Agent Orange herbicide in the Vietnam War; developments that coincided with, and encouraged, the birth of the modern environmental movement.

 

 

References and Resources also include:

https://ceobs.org/from-enmod-to-geoengineering-the-environment-as-a-weapon-of-war/

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-12-17/has-china-mastered-weather-modification-should-we-worry

 

 

 

 

 

Cite This Article

 
International Defense Security & Technology (September 29, 2022) Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare. Retrieved from https://idstch.com/geopolitics/large-increase-weather-modifications-programs-around-world-bring-backs-threat-weather-climatic-warfare/.
"Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare." International Defense Security & Technology - September 29, 2022, https://idstch.com/geopolitics/large-increase-weather-modifications-programs-around-world-bring-backs-threat-weather-climatic-warfare/
International Defense Security & Technology January 12, 2021 Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare., viewed September 29, 2022,<https://idstch.com/geopolitics/large-increase-weather-modifications-programs-around-world-bring-backs-threat-weather-climatic-warfare/>
International Defense Security & Technology - Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare. [Internet]. [Accessed September 29, 2022]. Available from: https://idstch.com/geopolitics/large-increase-weather-modifications-programs-around-world-bring-backs-threat-weather-climatic-warfare/
"Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare." International Defense Security & Technology - Accessed September 29, 2022. https://idstch.com/geopolitics/large-increase-weather-modifications-programs-around-world-bring-backs-threat-weather-climatic-warfare/
"Geoengineering and Weather modification programs around the world bring backs the threat of Weather and Climatic Warfare." International Defense Security & Technology [Online]. Available: https://idstch.com/geopolitics/large-increase-weather-modifications-programs-around-world-bring-backs-threat-weather-climatic-warfare/. [Accessed: September 29, 2022]

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