Captain Disillusion answers a viewer request and gets slightly carried away.
By Dennis Mersereau via Cyprus Mail
In 2003, Barbra Streisand frantically tried to censor pictures of her home in Malibu after someone posted them online. In 2003, millions of people saw pictures of Barbra Streisand’s home in Malibu. In what became known as the Streisand effect, attempts to suppress information about something usually backfires and leads to even more publicity for the supposedly secret thing.
There is a strong argument in the weather community that we should ignore the growing number of people who sincerely believe that there is a worldwide governmental conspiracy to control the weather through, among other means, “chemtrails”. Bringing attention to their cause, one may argue, only helps to attract more attention and thereby more adherents to this particular brand of anti-science.
While that is probably true for a small number of people, ignoring the conspiracy theorists only makes them scream louder for attention through the Streisand Effect. The best way to remedy a situation isn’t to bottle it up and pretend that it isn’t happening, but rather to shine light on it and expose the silliness for what it really is.
If you’re not familiar with the chemtrail conspiracy theory, let me fill you in real quick. The thin, wispy clouds left behind by high-flying aircraft are known as contrails, short for condensation trails. These clouds are left behind as a result of the warm, moist exhaust of the plane’s engines meeting the extremely cold temperatures of the upper atmosphere. It’s a similar principle behind why you can see your breath on cold mornings.
Contrails appear and disappear based on the moisture content of the air through which the plane is passing. If the upper atmospheric air is moist, the plane will leave a contrail that could last hours and spread out into a deck of cirrus. If the air is extremely dry, it might not leave a contrail at all.
Since about the mid-1990s, there’s a subset of people who believe that these contrails are really chemtrails, or trails of vaporised chemicals being sprayed into the atmosphere by aircraft that are really flying around with with tanks full of chemicals rather than passengers. These alleged chemtrails are the work of any number of groups: governments, companies, Jews, you name it. The ultimate goal differs depending on whom you ask, but the two biggest strains of thought are that the chemtrails exist to control the weather or make the populace sick.
For most people with a basic level of science education, the idea is absurd, but the conspiracy theorists truly believe that these chemicals are being sprayed to control the weather, make the population sick, or partake in other “geoengineering” activities.
Back to the theorists themselves.
Suggested by a reader, this is a very good video debunking chemtrails 🙂
Description from the video on YouTube:
My entry into AtheistAussie’s Debunkathon (Chemtrails – 5 minute maximum)
I am not a scholar – which means anyone has access to this knowledge. I learned much during the research for this video and I hope any “chemtrailers” will follow some of the links below to research this for themselves, and not take my word for it.
I recognize that this does not debunk ALL the theories behind chemtrails – to do that you would need MUCH more than five minutes – and so I focused on a single common claim that since the 1990’s contrails have changed in their frequency and persistence.
Too bad most scientists agree this conspiracy theory is completely bogus.
Every so often at WJTV NEWS CHANNEL 12 the newsroom gets a frantic emails from someone asking us this: “Why in the world are we not exposing the government for spraying chemicals into the air?”
That is a serious accusation.
Too bad most scientists agree this conspiracy theory is completely bogus. Jacob Kittilstad looks to the sky this MYSTERY MONDAY.
The ‘Chemtrails’ videos litter the internet. The ones where conspiracy theorists claim the government – or another shady group controlling the world – is seeding the sky with dangerous chemicals.
Reason WHY range from weather control to poisoning the public.
“The notion of it is silly on so many levels,” Dr. Andrew Mercer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geo-Science at Mississippi State University, said.
Dr. Mercer’s area’s of expertise include expertise in statistical climatology, statistical meteorology, synoptic scale/large scale meteorology, and severe weather meteorology.
“It’s not mentioned anywhere in the peer-review literature. It’s not ever taught in a weather or climate course. It never even existed prior to the 90’s. Nobody had even ever mentioned the term prior to the 90’s,” Dr. Mercer said.
“And the process that forms the contrails is very well understood,” Dr. Mercer said.
Yep – you read it.