Tags: hurricane | cloud seeding | operation popeye

Hurricane Hype and the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Hurricane Hype and the Ho Chi Minh Trail
(Vyacheslav Kurmashov/Dreamstime.com)

By Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Cloud seeding is a scientific fact; the first success in chemically manipulating clouds to produce rain occurred as far back as 1947.

In the 1960s the U.S. made a determined attempt to gain quite a bit more knowledge, flying formations of aircraft to deliver sizable amounts of silver iodide into storm clouds, and with military precision since it was the Air Force conducting the operations.

The experiments were geared toward the prospective beneficial civilian outcome of potentially being able to diminish the ferocity of hurricanes which inevitably batter the Gulf Coast shoreline from time to time. By 1967, however, it was realized by the military that the war effort in Vietnam could be aided by seeding clouds over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Muddying the enemy’s supply line and thereby diminishing his ability to transport troops and materiel into theaters of war is a dream come true for any commander, and in Vietnam the goal was both to intensify the seasonal monsoons and to extend them over the Vietcong’s military artery.

The Air Force flew over 2,500 sorties attempting to drench the Ho Chi Minh Trail, cause landslides, wash out bridges and thereby impede the enemy. A noteworthy facet of the stealthy project, Operation Popeye, was that the Vietcong were oblivious to the fact their supply train was even under attack, until they found out about it — by reading The New York Times.

The Pentagon Papers in 1971 divulged many classified data, inclusive of the U.S. cloud seeding, and on July 3, 1972, the NY Times ran an article, "Rainmaking Used as a Weapon by US", exposing the entire project.

Two years later, amazingly since the war was still in progress, Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI) summoned Pentagon officials to Congress to demand answers to queries the North Vietnamese could only have hoped a member of the hundred most powerful Americans would pose in public on their behalf. Pell grilled the military concerning how American induced floods and landslides might have affected Vietnamese civilians as well as the Vietcong truck drivers hauling munitions.

With the press and Democratic senators so preoccupied with how and why the Air Force would strive to lessen the number of AK-47 rounds being delivered to enemy combatants aiming weapons at U.S. soldiers, the scientific lessons learned from cloud seeding operations received short shrift. The Congress didn’t ask a single question about what progress, if any, was being made in shielding populations vulnerable to storms along the Eastern seaboard and Gulf states.

Concerning the original goal though, the Americans had discovered that there didn’t seem to be any reliable way to dampen the power of hurricanes by cloud seeding. Tropical storms had become better known at least through the Air Force’s sorties. It had been thought that hurricanes held large amounts of super-cooled water, just what silver iodide crystals need to work their rain-forming magic. They don’t though, which is why pumping massive amounts of silver iodide into precise locations within the storm, in attempts to engender disturbances to turn the hurricane’s own angular momentum against itself — to slow it down and weaken it — didn’t work.

Almost a half century later, the same American media that openly broadcast classified information guaranteed to harm the United States by at bare minimum holding it to up to certain international scorn during wartime, while ignoring what was being learned at the time about hurricanes, is now back to inform the public about — indeed, hurricanes.

Since it fits the current climatic doomsday scenarios so much in vogue, many major media outlets have been declaring for some time now that America and the West — owing to their CO2 emissions, the inimitable cause of a veritable cornucopia of weather-related evils — are the responsible parties for strengthened and more frequent hurricanes.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) is the preeminent body of civil and scientific authorities concerning tropical storms — and hardly “deniers” of anything, but rather apt supporters of the scientific method.

NOAA has published disavowals that there’s anything to be said one way or the other about a supposed uptick in hurricanes’ intensity, duration, or frequency and dismisses as "weak" evidence the alleged upward trend due to climate change.

That bulletin is hardly the kind of news flash to sell papers so it’s hardly surprising it’s failed to garner much column space in America’s dailies. Yet, if anything should change in near-future to cause imminent disaster splashed onto headlines, the media in the U.S. and worldwide stand ready to re-start the presses.

Of that we all may be almost certain.

David Nabhan is a science writer, the author of "Earthquake Prediction: Dawn of the New Seismology" (2017) and three previous books on earthquakes. Nabhan is also a science fiction writer ("Pilots of Borealis," 2015) and the author of many scores of newspaper and magazine op-eds. Nabhan has been featured on television and talk radio all over the world. His website is www.earthquakepredictors.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Cloud seeding is a scientific fact; the first success in chemically manipulating clouds to produce rain occurred as far back as 1947.
hurricane, cloud seeding, operation popeye
Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:37 PM
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