Are chemtrails real?


Fact Box

  • Chemtrails have been described as 'clouds of chemicals used by the government or some other large scale entity for a variety of nefarious purposes from weather modification, to human population control via sterilization, to even mind control.'
  • The EPA defines contrails as 'line-shaped clouds or 'condensation trails,' composed of ice particles that are visible behind jet aircraft engines, typically at cruise altitudes in the upper atmosphere. '
  • An international survey of over 3,000 people in 2016 revealed that nearly 17% 'believed the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric program (SLAP) to be true or partly true.'
  • The term conspiracy theory, which is often what the belief in chemtrails is labeled as is defined as 'a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.'

Mandy (Yes)

Chemtrails is a slang term for the government program called 'stratospheric aerosol injection' (SAI), which is the spraying of harmful chemicals and metals into the air to 'combat global warming.' This technology exists and is being actively used.  

The first time 'chemtrail' came into use was in an Air Force Academy textbook in the early 1990s. Politicians and the public have confused the properties of contrails and chemtrails for years, but to continue to conflate the two is incorrect. Contrails are created by condensation from jet engines that dissipates rapidly; chemtrails linger in the air to spread metals and chemicals and reflect heat to combat global warming. Anyone can see the patent for SAI technology: Patent # 5,003,186 approved on March 26, 1991. 

Unfortunately, SAI has a negative effect on agriculture and normal weather patterns. The UN held a debate on the impact of chemtrails and weather modification in 2007 and discussed the impending effects on pollinators (bees) and the reduction of solar power generation and photosynthesis needed for agriculture production.  

At the 2016 Council of Foreign Relations, Director Brennen advocated for using SAI technology against global warming, saying, '...stratospheric aerosol injection, or SAI, [is] a method of seeding the stratosphere with particles that can help reflect the sun's heat, in much the same way that volcanic eruptions do.'  

Weather manipulation in many forms is not a conspiracy but a fact. Even military operations such as Operation Popeye during the Vietnam War utilized cloud seeding to influence Vietnam's monsoon season. The public should no longer deny chemtrails—the government certainly acknowledges their existence.

Kevin (No)

Scientists and skeptics have been debunking the 'chemtrail' idea for almost as long as it's been around, but it wasn't until 2016 that a peer-reviewed paper addressing the claim was published--and with conclusive results. The paper showed little scientific support for chemtrails, with all but one of the 77 participating scientists finding any evidence of a 'spraying program.' Note that the outlying 77th scientist didn't suggest positive evidence in favor of chemtrails but instead presented 'inexplicable evidence' which couldn't be as easily 'explained by other factors.' The researchers who published the paper said they 'wanted to establish a scientific record on the topic,' acknowledging that they would be unlikely to change minds. 

However, even previous to that paper, scientists had explained that the effect is actually due to condensation formed by burning hydrocarbons, specifically the oxidation of hydrogen in the jet fuel. This visible condensation effect only happens under the right conditions, of which temperature is a large part, which is why the trails aren't always seen.

The 'chemtrail' idea seems to have originated from an Air Force report released around 1996 containing discussion of 'fictional representations of future situations/scenarios,' which some apparently saw as 'evidence that the government was actively working to control and manipulate the Earth's climate.' As some have pointed out, the basis of the idea may not be completely irrational, as there have indeed been cases of the US government and scientists collaborating in shady ways before. Examples include the Tuskegee Experiments and early nuclear testing. However, in this case, the evidence shows no foul play.

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