Chemtrails Part 3 - Geoengineering Our Sky


     To conclude this three-part chemtrail blog series, I would like to address geoengineering. Of the various issues raised by chemtrail proponents that I've heard, this is the only one that actually has some factual basis. Yet, people still run a bit too wild with it. While I don’t support the geoengineering of our sky, the idea is nothing new, and typically refers to one of two things. It can refer to the spraying of aerosols into the troposphere (lower atmosphere) in order to cause the formation of clouds (through condensation). While this could be a means of generating rain, it has most recently been proposed as a means of reflecting sunlight in order to offset the temperature increases from climate change. Geoengineering can also refer to the spraying of sulfate particles (or precursor gases) into the stratosphere (upper atmosphere) in order to reflect light, the purpose again being to cool the planet.
      In the first case, while some small-scale field experiments have probably taken place, for the most part we are talking about proposals, not actual spraying. And if such experiments have taken place, the relative risk to human health of such spraying would be negligible compared to other sources of chemical pollution in the environment, especially considering the altitude of spraying (as described in my last blog). That being said, we’ve all probably seen a condensation trail spread out across the sky and create a thin layer of cloud, or maybe grow into a cloud. This is not due to a special type of contrail (a “chemtrail”). Rather, it is the result of emitting water vapor and pollutants into an atmosphere that is already saturated with water. When an atmosphere is saturated, emitted water vapor will condense and hang around for a while (a visible contrail). When an atmosphere is supersaturated, not only will this vapor condense, but surrounding water vapor will be triggered to condense, spreading into a cloud-like layer. This is precisely the same physics that would make geoengineering possible, should such proposals be adopted. That is, under certain atmospheric conditions the release of particles into the air will facilitate the condensation of surrounding water vapor and in turn create cloud cover.
      In the case of condensation trails, however, such trails do not exist because they were designed to exist. Airplanes could release almost ANY mixture of particles and water vapor and it would cause the formation of trails under the right conditions. Such chemical mixtures, however, need not be special. They are collectively called “air pollution.”  So yes, airplanes do pollutant the skies. But they do so by releasing air pollutants characteristic of any combustion engine. And they sometimes do manipulate the weather, because releasing particle pollution and water vapor all over the atmosphere all day every day is bound to do so. This is unfortunate for those of us who enjoy clear skies, but it is not conspiracy. It is an inevitable byproduct of airplane traffic.
      As for stratospheric geoengineering, exposure to sulfate particles through this type of spraying is not realistic. Not only is the stratosphere over 30,000 feet above ground, but this region of the atmosphere is incredibly stable to vertical mixing. In other words, particles that are released there will stay there for long periods. This is precisely why the stratosphere has been identified as the target for such spraying. In addition, it is important to realize that sulfate pollution is already one of the greatest air pollutants in and around our communities. What is the major source you ask? Fossil fuel combustion! So if our concern is sulfate pollution, why in the world are we worrying about proposed sulfate particles being released 30,000 feet above earth’s surface when there are literally millions of tons of sulfur pollution being poured into our air at ground level by the fossil fuel industry each year? Instead of waving our fingers at the sky, how about we wave them at our utility companies and pressure them to adopt cleaner means of producing electricity? Or better yet, how about we pay slightly more for the green energy options that most electric companies already offer, and in turn shift demand? And what about putting solar panels on our roofs? That’s an option too!
      This third article concludes my blog series on chemtrails. If you still have unanswered questions relating to the topic, I welcome them in the comments sections below where I will do my best to answer them in a timely manner.  

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                                                                                                                     -Shahir Masri, M.S.


  1. Shahir-
    This series on "chemtrails" has been eye opening and very interesting, to say the least. I have never bought in to the whole conspiracy theory of these chemical trails, however knowing the science and physics behind them is awesome general knowledge.
    It seems that there is still a big following for "chemtrails" even though this post is a couple of years old, why do you think that is? The science is so sound that it makes me curious as to why people out there still believe that there is a conspiracy.

    1. Hi Melissa-

      This is Isac from the COH 608 class and although the question was for the professor id like to chime in if I may. I read these articles and before I read them I was also thinking along the lines of some sort of government conspiracy of population control. Afterwards though, it is very clear that it is not the case. I believe that as I society we have been somehow led to believe that there is typically some sort of conspiracy on things affecting the general population. I think that this is a product of misinformation and organizations that have agendas propagate this in order to confuse and alarm individuals. We as citizens of this planet have to be more discerning regarding information that we receive and use critical thinking and do a bit of research before jumping to conclusions.

    2. Yes Isac, critical thinking is important. And unfortunately many people do not have science background so it is easy to get swept away by media and incredible sources!

    3. Melissa, I am glad you found the article useful and informative! As I mentioned to Isac, I think many people get carried away by conspiracies for lack of understanding the depth of the issues.

    4. Melissa, I am glad you found the article useful and informative! As I mentioned to Isac, I think many people get carried away by conspiracies for lack of understanding the depth of the issues.

  2. Hello Professor Masri,
    Thank you for the information. I read all 3 parts about chemtrails. I have seen so many things that people post related to chemtrails and I never understood the conspiracy behind it. I really liked how you explained what is happening and how humidity affects the visibility. I think that people are quick to assume that something "fishy" is going on. Whenever I saw them I just thought that it was exhaust from planes. I am curious as to why there isn't more information that informs the population about what is going on? I think that would help people feel more comfortable.

    Thank you.
    Danielle COH 608

    1. Hello Danielle,

      When I googled chemtrails there was a slew of articles that talk about chemtrails, but most of them are people that have this belief of the conspiracy of the government and then there are some that want to let you know how much of an idiot you are.
      I did see an article about the UN president of Agriculture Defence Coalition saying the chemtrails are real and has a video to prove it. You can check it out http://yournewswire.com/the-united-nations-admits-chemtrails-are-real/ and you can judge for yourself.

    2. check this one out too. A little old but the Discovery Channel made a series about chemtrails.
      when you follow the link you can see all of the videos about chemtrails. Very interesting indeed.

  3. It was so interesting and kept myself reading it because it is something I didn't know before. You've giving me a better understanding on what contributes to what is happening in the sky. It is matter of science and physics that create it all and that is amazing. One of the sentences, "Geoengineering can also refer to the spraying of sulfate particles (or precursor gases) into the stratosphere (upper atmosphere) in order to reflect light, the purpose again being to cool the planet." I was amazed by this because that there are components out there to create such like this. Would airplanes increases more emission level since they're close to the atmosphere?

  4. I have heard the word 'geoengineering' before but I wasn't really aware of what it meant exactly and now I do. I always knew that 'chemtrails' were contrails left from planes and such and it amazes me that so many people buy into the chemtrails theory. With all of the information available on the internet and elsewhere, it amazes me that people are so willing to believe stuff like this. Do the same individuals who believe in chemtrails not see geoengineering as the same type of thing?

  5. Reading these series of blogs made me realize about why planes would have a trail of cloud and some didn't but now I know a little about it and the science why some and not all have these cloud trail or contrail or chemtrail.
    Conspiracy theories are great and very interesting and always makes me want to think and maybe even get more information about these theories, I think there are always some kind of truths to these but I am still very much skeptical about these as being a government conspiracy or a big industrial scheme to dispose of waste. If these planes are disposing these sulfates in the air, I want to know how much can they really put in these planes and why are we not taking a deeper look into these theories?