Weather Warfare
Project Stormfury
Hurricane Katrina-08-28-2005 Category Five

Project Stormfury was an ambitious experimental program of research on hurricane modification carried out between 1962 and 1983. The proposed modification technique involved artificial stimulation of convection outside the eyewall through seeding with silver iodide. The invigorated convection, it was argued, would compete with the original eyewall, lead to reformation of the eyewall at larger radius, and thus, through partial conservation of angular momentum, produce a decrease in the strongest winds.

Since a hurricane's destructive potential increases rapidly as its strongest winds become stronger, a reduction as small as 10% would have been worthwhile. Modification was attempted in four hurricanes on eight different days. On four of these days, the winds decreased by between 10 and 30%, The lack of response on the other days was interpreted to be the result of faulty execution of the seeding or of poorly selected subjects.

These promising results came into question in the mid-1980s because observations in unmodified hurricanes indicated:

   1. That cloud seeding had little prospect of success because hurricanes contained too much natural ice and too little supercooled water.
   2. That the positive results inferred from the seeding experiments in the 1960s stemmed from inability to discriminate between the expected results of human intervention and the natural behavior of hurricanes. 

Willoughby, H. E., D. P. Jorgensen, R. A. Black, and S. L. Rosenthal, 1985: Project STORMFURY, A Scientific Chronicle, 1962-1983, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 66, 505-514.

National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA)
Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
Atlantic oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML)


Credit: United States Air Force - Douglas DC-6
1966 photo of the crew and personnel of Project Stormfury

Hurricane Modification?

Can human intervention diminish the force of a hurricane? From the mid-1960s through the early 1980s NOAA actively pursued Project STORMFURY, a program of experimental hurricane modification. The general strategy was to reduce the intensity of the storm by cloud seeding. The seeding, it was argued, would stimulate the formation of a new eyewall that would surround the existing eyewall. The new eyewall would contract, strangling the old eyewall and reducing the intensity of the hurricane. However, research carried out at AOML showed clearly that these "concentric eyewalls" happened often in unmodified hurricanes, thus casting doubt on the seemingly positive results of seeding in earlier experimentation. Hurricane Luis provides an example of this behavior. Moreover, observations showed that hurricanes contain little of the supercooled water necessary for cloud seeding to work.

The American Meteorological Society policy statement on planned and inadvertent weather modification, dated October 2, 1998, indicates, "There is no sound physical hypothesis for the modification of hurricanes, tornadoes, or damaging winds in general, and no related scientific experimentation has been conducted in the past 20 years." In the absence of a sound hypothesis, no Federal agencies are presently doing, or planning, research on hurricane modification.

Some techniques besides seeding clouds that have been considered over the years include: cooling the ocean with cryogenic material or icebergs, retardation of surface evaporation with monomolecular films, changing the radiational balance in the hurricane environment by absorption of sunlight with carbon black, blowing the hurricane apart with hydrogen bombs, injecting air into the center with a huge maneuverable tube to raise the central pressure, and blowing the storm away from land with windmills. As carefully reasoned as some of these suggestions are, they all fall short of the mark because they fail to appreciate the size and power of tropical cyclones. For example, when hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992, the eye and eyewall devastated a swath 20 miles wide. The heat energy released around the eye was 5,000 times the combined heat and electrical power generation of the Turkey Point nuclear power plant over which the eye passed. Better building codes, wiser land use, and more accurate forecasts seem prosaic compared with environmental mega engineering but they are a great deal cheaper and have overwhelmingly favorable cost-benefit ratios.


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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service has awarded a performance-based contract to Raytheon Technical Services Company LLC for the operations and maintenance, optional product improvements, and software maintenance and support of the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS).

The contract is for five years, with five one-year award terms for a potential of a 10-year contract. The contract has the potential value of approximately $300 million over a 10-year contract life.

AWIPS is the computerized system that processes and overlays multiple data sources to allow local Weather Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers to generate weather and water forecasts and warnings. It is a cornerstone technology of the modernized National Weather Service.

AWIPS continually evolves to accommodate new science and technology to meet National Weather Service, NOAA and Department of Commerce strategic goals. This contract represents a new phase in the operation and maintenance of AWIPS, increasing system performance and functionality and improving forecasts and warning timeliness to support the National Weather Service mission.

NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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NOAA’s National Weather Service:

Project Stormfury 

Project Stormfury was an attempt to weaken tropical cyclones by flying aircraft into them and seeding with silver iodide. The project was run by the United States Government from 1962 to 1983.

The hypothesis was that the silver iodide would cause supercooled water in the storm to freeze, disrupting the inner structure of the hurricane. This led to the seeding of several Atlantic hurricanes. However, it was later shown that this hypothesis was incorrect. In reality, it was determined most hurricanes do not contain enough supercooled water for cloud seeding to be effective. Additionally, researchers found that unseeded hurricanes often undergo the same structural changes that were expected from seeded hurricanes. This finding called Stormfury's successes into question, as the changes reported now had a natural explanation.

The last experimental flight was flown in 1971, due to a lack of candidate storms and a changeover in NOAA's fleet. More than a decade after the last modification experiment, Project Stormfury was officially cancelled. Although a failure in its goal of reducing the destructiveness of hurricanes, Project Stormfury was not without merit. The observational data and storm lifecycle research generated by Stormfury helped improve meteorologists' ability to forecast the movement and intensity of future hurricanes.

Credit: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The Hypothesis

Cloud seeding was first attempted by Vincent Schaefer and Irving Langmuir. After witnessing the artificial creation of ice crystals, Langmuir became an enthusiastic proponent of weather modification.[1] Schaefer found that when he dumped crushed dry ice into a cloud, precipitation in the form of snow resulted.[2]

With regard to hurricanes, it was hypothesized that by seeding the area around the eyewall with silver iodide, latent heat would be released. This would promote the formation of a new eyewall. As this new eyewall was larger than the old eyewall, the winds of the tropical cyclone would be weaker due to a reduced pressure gradient.[3] Even a small reduction in the speed of a hurricane's winds would be beneficial; as the damage potential of a hurricane increased exponentially with its winds,[4] a slight lowering of wind velocity would have a large reduction in potential destructiveness.[4]

Due to Langmuir's efforts, and the research of Schaefer at General Electric, the concept of using cloud seeding to weaken hurricanes gathered momentum. Indeed, Schaefer had caused a major snowstorm on December 20, 1946 by seeding a cloud.[2] This caused GE to drop out for legal reasons. Schaefer and Langmuir assisted the U.S. military as advisors for Project Cirrus, the first large study of cloud physics and weather modification. Its most important goal was to try and weaken hurricanes.[5]


In the sense of weakening hurricanes to reduce their destructiveness, Project Stormfury was a complete failure because it did not distinguish between natural phenomena in tropical cyclones and the impact of human intervention.[27] Millions of dollars had been spent trying to do the impossible. In the end, "[Project] STORMFURY had two fatal flaws: it was neither microphysically nor statistically feasible."[29]

In addition, Stormfury had been a primary generator of funding for the Hurricane Research Division. While the project was operational, the HRD's budget had been around $4 million (1975 USD), with a staff of approximately 100 people.[30] Today, the HRD employs 30 people and has a budget of roughly $2.6 million each year.[31]

However, Project Stormfury had positive results as well. Knowledge gained during flights proved invaluable in debunking its hypotheses.[31] Other science resulted in a greater understanding of tropical cyclones. In addition, the Lockheed P-3's were perfectly suitable for gathering data on tropical cyclones, allowing improved forecasting of these monstrous storms.[31]Those planes are still used by the NOAA today.[32]

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Weather Control
Cloud seeding for rain

Cloud seeding is a common technique intended to trigger rain, but evidence on its effectiveness is mixed. Critics generally contend that claimed successes occur in conditions which were going to rain anyway. It is used in several different countries, including the United States, the People's Republic of China, and Russia. In the People's Republic of China there is a perceived dependency upon it in dry regions, which believe they are increasing annual rainfall by firing silver iodide rockets into the sky where rain is desired. In the United States, dry ice or silver iodide may be injected into a cloud by aircraft, or from the ground, in an attempt to increase rainfall; some companies are dedicated to this form of weather modification.

Ionospheric Experiments

HIPAS has several diverse experimental facilities: a 1-megawatt rf transmitter to produce ELF/VLF (Extremely Low Frequency and Very Low Frequency) electromagnetic (EM) generation by the absorption of radio frequency (rf) power in the arctic ionosphere including ion cyclotron excitation; a 100 kW rf plasma torch used in research on the destruction of hazardous waste; a 2.7 m liquid mirror telescope used with one of several lasers for ionospheric stimulation and measurement; an Incoherent Scatter Radar (a new project using 88 ft. diameter antenna at NOAA Gilmore Creek site 34 km SW of HIPAS as the receiving antenna with the transmitter at HIPAS). HIPAS is in the process of adding a very high power (terawatt) laser (recently obtained from LLNL) to perform laser breakdown experiments in the ionosphere. Two Diesel electric generators (1500 HP 4160 V, 3-phase, 1.2 MVA each) are used to power the experiments. There are a number of computers (PC's ) on site, and a high-speed data line to UAF is available. While these experiments are useful in measuring the properties of the ionosphere, they produce insufficient amounts of energy to modify it in any significant way.

Atmospheric Ionization Research Association Incorporated in 2007 in Australia began reworking Jack Toyers machine principals ( with operations in regional Queensland Chincilla 2006, Kilcoy 2006, Dalby 2007, Sapphire 2007, Calliope 2007. New South Wales Casino 2006-2008,Lismore 2006-2008 Bourke 2007. Arizona Phoenix 2007-2008, Death Valley 2007 December 2007 dedication to Jack Toyer,Lao and Dr Walter Russells work in Virginia at Swannonoa Palace estate operating in USA , Mobile to travel to sites with a great deal of Success within the Target Area's this Science Phenomena of Rain from Blue Skies and Many other Videos on Google(


For the 2008 Olympics, the Chinese have set aside 30 airplanes, 4,000 rocket launchers, and 7,000 anti-aircraft guns to stop rain. The Chinese plan to shoot various chemicals into any threatening clouds to shrink rain drops before they reach the stadium.[18]

Other References

  1. ^ Homer, The Odyssey, book 10.
  2. ^ Sir James Frazer, The Golden Bough, ch. 5 (abridged edition), "The Magical Control of Rain"
  3. ^ Smout, T. C. A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830, pp 184 - 192
  4. ^ Adam of Bremen and Ole Worm are quoted as maintaining this in Grillot de Givry's Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy (Frederick Publications, 1954).
  5. ^ Frazer, supra.
  6. ^ ab - Alamaro proposal and energy critique
  7. ^ Moshe Alamaro's brief bio
  8. ^ - Chorin proposal
  9. ^ Kerry Emanuel's Homepage
  10. ^ Could humans tackle hurricanes? - earth - 14 September 2005 - New Scientist Environment
  11. ^ Oil on troubled waters may stop hurricanes - earth - 25 July 2005 - New Scientist
  12. ^ Anti-hurricane invention worth pursuing. Murdock, Deroy. Scripps Howard News Service. 22 Oct 2005.
  13. ^ Environmental Modification Convention
  14. ^ "Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques", United States Department of State. Retrieved on 2007-09-28
  15. ^ S. 517 [109th]: Weather Modification Research and Development Policy Authorization Act of 2005 (
  16. ^ H.R. 2995 [109th]: Weather Modification Research and Technology Transfer Authorization Act of 2005 (
  17. ^ Hoffman, R, "Controlling Hurricanes," Scientific American, Oct 2004.
  18. ^ Demick, Barbara, "China plans to halt rain for Olympics," Los Angeles Times, January 2008.
  19. ^ COHEN ADDRESS 4/28 AT CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and U.S. Strategy Sam Nunn Policy Forum April 28, 1997 University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia
SOURCE: Wikipedia

Weather Modification Patents
  • Original
  • Process for weather control, H. M. Brandau, U.S. Patent 2,756,097
  • Weather control by artificial means, Heinz W. Kasemir, U.S. Patent 3,284,005
  • Cloud formation and subsequent moisture precipitation, U.S. Patent 3,409,220
  • System and method for irradiation of planet surface areas, Aurthur G. Buckingham, U.S. Patent 3,564,253
  • Weather modification method, Knollenberg, U.S. Patent 3,613,992
  • Combustible compositions for generating aerosols, particularly suitable for cloud modification and weather control and aerosolization process, Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche, U.S. Patent 3,630,950
  • Method and apparatus for altering a region in the earth's atmosphere, ionosphere, and/or magnetosphere, J. Eastlund, U.S. Patent 4,686,605
  • Method and composition for precipitation of atmospheric water, Slavko Mentus, U.S. Patent 5,360,162
  • Use of artificial satellites in earth orbits adaptively to modify the effect that solar radiation would otherwise have on earth's weather, Franklin Y. K. Chen, U.S. Patent 5,762,298
  • Weather modification by artificial satellites, Franklin Y. K. Chen, U.S. Patent 5,984,239
  • Reissue
    Combustible compositions for generating aerosols, particularly suitable for cloud modification and weather control and aerosolization process, Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche, U.S. Patent RE29,142
SOURCE: Wikipedia

Weather Warfare Treaty
United Nations
October 27, 1978

Weather Modification Paper
Transcript of the US Senate Hearing on Weather Modification of March 20, 1974
PDF Format Briefing Report: Project Popeye

The Developing Weather Crisis
by Andrew Tomas June 2004
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