For over five decades in Australia, the study of clouds, rain and the atmosphere has been largely hidden from the public, as a secretive network of government agencies and private business interests continue to manipulate the weather around us to their personal benefit.
Geoengineering, or weather manipulation, has now become commonly accepted as the deliberate intervention or large-scale manipulation of the climate system of Earth to counteract ‘global warming’ or to influence the environment.
Global climate is controlled by the amount of solar radiation received by Earth and also by the fate of this energy within the Earth system. That is, how much is absorbed by Earth’s surface and how much is reflected or reradiated back into space.
The reflectance of solar radiation is controlled by several mechanisms, including Earth’s surface albedo and cloud coverage and the presence in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
To this notion, geoengineering aims to target these key areas, with two main underlying techniques responsible: direct carbon dioxide removal, such as cloud seeding, and solar radiation management that aims to cool the planet by reflecting more sunlight.
Geoengineering proposals were first developed in the middle of the 20th century. Relying on technologies developed during World War II, such proposals were designed to alter weather systems in order to obtain more favourable climate conditions on a regional scale.
Australia has been heavily involved in these processes since the beginning of advancements in technology, with major projects, documented experiments, legislative pieces and more, for over 50 years.
CSIRO: CREATING THE RAIN
One of the best-known techniques of geoengineering is cloud seeding, a process that attempts to bring rain to parched farmland by dispersing particles of silver iodide or solid carbon dioxide into rain-bearing clouds.
Cloud seeding may involve attempting to produce rain when none would normally fall or it may be working to increase precipitation over a particular area.
This theory began in Australia shortly following the world’s first laboratory trials, after new research papers published by USA researchers I Langmuir and V Schaefer stated that rain could be induced by seeding clouds with dry ice.
After a series of experiments in New York, the two researchers managed to make it rain using silver iodide bullets. They got a patent for their technique, referred to as ‘cloud seeding’, soon after.
As a result of the international study, cloud seeding was first trialed in Australia in 1947 when the CSIRO used Royal Australian Air Force aircrafts to drop dry ice into the tops of cumulus clouds.
According to CSIRO history, the method worked reliably with clouds that were very cold, producing rain that would not have otherwise fallen, leading to more subsequent trials.
The first documented date of this success was in 1947. Described by CSIRO:
“This is believed to be the first documented case anywhere in the world of an appreciable man-made rainfall reaching the ground and the first time that dynamic cloud growth had followed seeding.”
Following the success of initial trials, CSIRO scientists would continue this work until 1952, soon expanding to include theoretical, laboratory and airborne investigations of cloud structure and reaction: