by Julie Penny
I’ve found that I seem to notice jet contrails most when I’m plopped on the beach. Expanse of sand, expanse of water, expanse of sky. The eye is as likely to look heavenward from the horizon as to linger on the waves. The sight of a jet bisecting deep blue sky with a thin streaming white trail of condensation behind it adds a certain summer languor; the transit mesmerizes—almost against one’s wishes. I usually keep track to see how fast the contrail vaporizes into solid blue unity again giving us back the whole sky, akin to two sides of a cut healing back together. These last few years I’ve noticed that there are many less days of deep blue skies—the kind of electric blue that makes the heart sing with well-being—and, more haze. Recently, on two separate occasions within the last few months, the jet contrails I observed looked, and, behaved, differently.
Around April while driving towards Noyac from Sag Harbor I noticed several rows of contrails over Long Beach. Not a single and quickly dissipating sleek streak, but several trails parallel to each other. In the otherwise blue sky, they were widening, their edges looking ragged. Some had tic-tac-toe like streaks branching off of them. Decidedly strange and weird looking. They weren’t dissipating but expanding, and, wispy clouds were appearing near them. I wondered if I was looking at an example of a so-called “chemtrail” that some people in Hawaii and California had been hyperventilating about online.Â
Several weeks ago I’d read a letter to the editor from someone in Hampton Bays complaining about “chemtrails” they’d seen in their area and the possibility it contained barium, aluminum which is a health hazard. “Chemtrail” is a short-hand word that’s made its way into the lexicon and stands for “Chemical Contrail” which may, or, may not be, a misnomer unless the contents of one are ascertained by independent testing. Chemtrails look different from the ordinary contrails (condensation trails) we were used to seeing since the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. If we dispense with the chemtrail/ chemical contrail nomenclature altogether, it’s more properly used to describe the phenomenon of “persistent” jet contrails, as opposed to thin rapidly dissipating contrails. Ordinarily, contrails are created by jets flying at very high altitudes, their exhaust creating condensation trails made up of tiny ice crystals. Harmless enough. I’d been used to watching these white streams disappear in 5-15 minutes. These days, it seems to be that beyond the ice crystals, it’s the composition of other elements that might be in the contrails that is now being called into question. The other issue is—Why are some contrails, once ephemeral, now so persistent, lasting several hours and more, and, why do they spawn feathery cirrus-like clouds?—cirrus-like clouds that overspread and can turn blue sky hazy?Â As never before, people have been noticing and now commenting online about these persistent jet contrails not only here in the United States, but also around the world, comparing notes and photos.Â
Over the last twenty years there’s been a welter of public government documents having to do with weather modification programs and atmospheric testing (as from NASA, NOAA, etc.). Apparently, our skies have become an experimental laboratory not only for U.S. Government and military programs but for private industry and universities, all engaged in varying degrees of ongoing experimental atmospheric testing and programs, some geared to grapple with the effects of global warming (and, also, to control the weather for military advantage in theatres of war as weather plays a crucial role in conducting successful tactical maneuvers—control the weather and you control your opponent). But, are they doing more harm than good? Certainly, with private industry it appears there are no governmental regulations on the type and scope of the more than fifty weather modification programs and experiments that are currently ongoing in the United States. So too, it represents yet another avenue to cash in on taxpayer money. Greed trumps all and has its own impetus to experiment for experiment’s sake to keep the cash flowing. Environmental impacts—effects on agriculture, forests, wildlife, human health falls by the wayside. Time and again our government gives lucrative handouts to the chosen few no-bid contractors and ends up wasting us billions.
Geo-engineering, scary in its implications, is the artificial manipulation of our earth’s environment on a grand scale. So, either for pure, scientific, political, or money motives here we have geo-engineers engaging in introducing chemicals into the upper atmosphere in order to test, influence and control climate systems. For example, a scientist at NOAA posited using high-flying aircraft in the upper atmosphere equipped with big tanks to inject chemicals like sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere. The thinking behind this is that since erupting volcanoes belch great quantities of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere which causes global cooling it could thus be duplicated artificially as an antidote to global warming.
In the early 90’s, Edward Teller, the Dr. Strangelove of nuclear physics, conceived of battling global warming by injecting aluminum oxide into the upper atmosphere as its refractive qualities could act like tiny mirrors reflecting back into space some of the sun’s rays.
Since our government controls and labels everything “secret” to avoid accountability, what the public doesn’t know, or even Congress for that matter, is——What’s on the drawing boards? And, what, exactly, is actually being carried out? The question is—How can the public and Congress effect “oversight?” This is where a public dialogue should start. We have the capacity to reduce drastically our consumption of polluting fuels through energy conservation, efficiencies, and alternative technologies here on earth without using toxics in our atmosphere that eventually fall back to earth in rain or snowfall, polluting our water supplies and threatening earth’s ecology and our health. Forget the technological fix which always poses the dilemma of unintended consequences.
The Discovery Channel aired a program on “Chemical Contrails” last year. Pity they didn’t mention that our government already uses various chemicals in the upper atmosphere to understand its workings. This is available on NASA’s own website. (Other government websites have all kinds or related information about patents, sprayers, etc.)
They interviewed Dave Dickey, a landscaper for Alberta City in Canada who found electrical conductivity in city soils significantly above normal levels. His work keeps him afield and he regularly takes soil and water samples to ascertain what trace chemicals exist in them. In the interview he spoke about how the contrails of today develop differently compared to the past, and, about a day in January 2002 where they counted forty to sixty overhead flights with most leaving “incredibly persistent large plumes which would spread out and cover the sky.” He was familiar with the concept that aluminum oxide could be used to reduce global warming, so on days of unusually heavy flights he collected rain samples and had them tested at a lab. What he found was that the aluminum was 20 times higher than what normally occurs in rain. He attributed the elevated aluminum and barium as “fallout from chemically laden contrails.” (NASA uses barium aloft to ionize it in its electrical conductivity tests).
Rosalind Peterson worked for California’s Department of Agriculture in northern California where some of her job involved being aware of environmental issues that could cause crop losses. She, too, began noticing persistent contrails in 2002 and started taking pictures of them. Noticing, too, that the deep blue skies of Mendocino County were no longer deep blue but turned into a whiter haze from the persistent contrails blocking out direct sunlight (“global dimming”) which negatively impacts photosynthesis—a process vital to life on earth. She started co-relating the times of heavy persistent contrail activity with unusual spikes in the levels of barium, aluminum and other heavy metals in California’s drinking water. She found these spikes were occurring in Arizona as well.
After seeing the strange contrails in April, I started looking up information online and looking at photos of these persistent contrails taken by people all over the United States to see if what I saw matched up. Indeed it did. And, it just so happened I had my camera with me on June 11. I had been marveling at what a rich blue color the sky was for a change—and cloudless—as I drove towards Southampton via Noyac/North Sea road around 2 p.m.
When I got to Main Street and looked towards the east, up Hampton Road, I saw overhead these signature persistent contrails and wisps of cirrus clouds forming in proximity to them. I photographed them. When I headed towards Water Mill around 3p.m. I saw above the wide field a series of parallel contrails fattening up, not dissipating, and again, the formation of these telltale cirrus clouds. The clouds were multiplying and blurring into one another. I stopped awhile observing and photographing them too.Â Next, I went to the Bridgehampton Plaza and saw a plane high overhead looping the loop making these lines of persistent contrails. Why was the jet flying back and forth over the Southampton /Bridgehampton area? I could see the jet. I could see its flight course where it completed one line then curved back in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the older loop persisted in the sky. The once blue sky was clouding up with these pseudo-clouds. By the time I got home around 4:30 or 5 pm, the whole sky was no longer blue, but an opaque milky white haze.
Â From what I’ve since read and observed of these persistent contrails and their ancillary clouds that multiply, I surmise that the reasons for persistent jet contrails might fall into different subcategories ranging from the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, the sum total of pollution (including jet fuel), by jets rigged with sprayers—either on the plane’s underbelly (the Navy has a patent for such devices since the 1970’s, private industry also has patents for sprayers) or, perhaps even from chemicals mixed into the jet fuel—The latter two in order to seed aerosols with substances like aluminum or whatever to create clouds to block the sunlight; or, with silver iodode to cause rain or snow. Of course, we won’t know until independent sampling of these persistent contrails is performed. Of course, there’s a measure of the chicken or the egg. Is it due the pollution causing global warming? Global dimming? Our monkeying around with experiments in the troposphere, magnetosphere causing this phenomenon? Any combination of the above? Our efforts to combat global warming? These types of contrails didn’t start appearing till about 1989 in northern California.
With the horror of September 11, 2001 also came the opportunity for researchers to assess the atmosphere between the 11th-14th when all aircraft was grounded.Â Climatologists, checking against 30 years of data compared to the three flight-free days, found that the temperature ranged 2 degrees higher on the flight-free days. Daytime temperatures had gotten warmer and the nighttime cooler by 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also gave NASA opportunity to study individual contrails more closely, as during this time all flights were grounded except for six military jets. Turned out the condensation trails from those six jets that flew between Virginia and Pennsylvania on September 12 grew to cover over 7,700 square miles.
In an era where Bush muzzles scientists at NOAA, Fish & Wildlife, the EPA, FDA, and has his appointed lackey’s rewriting scientists’ reports, and editing out crucial information and data according to the liking of his corporate base and handlers (the depths to which has only been discovered since the Democrats became the slim majority and instituted Congressional oversight hearings)—how can we get accurate information?
With our abusively secretive government, it’s no longer possible. Information once in the public domain—like the EPA library—was dismantled by Bush to the chagrin and horror of the EPA’s own scientists and researchers, the academic community and the public. This is from a May 2, 2007 Press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER): “EPA Resumes Quietly Dismantling Library System—Environmental Prosecutions at Risk from Loss of Original Documents and Cost”—
“Despite promises to consult with Congress before proceeding with any dismantlement of its library system, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered its libraries to ‘disperse’ or dispose of their…contents’…The move to eliminate physical collections comes as EPA’s own enforcement branch warns about the risks of hampering environmental prosecutions…”—For me, that alone is grounds for impeachment right there.Â This library was paid for with our tax dollars. It’s data and information is priceless and vital. It’s been stolen from us. Criminal. This is a government that controls, withholds, or twists any and all information not to its liking to protect themselves and polluters while at the same time dealing in wholesale propaganda to promote its agenda that jeopardizes us all. It renders us impotent from legal recourse, and vulnerable without the tools to examine the truth as revealed in black and white data sets, especially as years of historical data provides context. For now, I want to know: What was all the looping back and forth about over Bridgehampton/Southampton by that jet (jets?) on June 11? For what purpose? And, who sponsored the flights?