“Climate weapons”: Are they real or the stuff of conspiracy theories and urban legends?

Since the entire world has been affected by weather events characterised by high temperatures on one side and heavy precipitation on the other, lunacy has reigned among conspiracy theorists, and many of them talk about “climate weapons” and “climate terrorism” that can harm the planet, people, or specific countries.

Such weapons development has been ongoing for decades, and these projects have consumed enormous funds, hinting that they still exist as endeavours.

But where do you draw the line between fantasy, science, and fact?

Is the administration trying to hide something?

Some people talk about “weather cannons,” as if anybody can build them to produce showers or droughts, while others talk seriously about “climate attacks” or “geophysical weapons,” even if there is no evidence that everything that happens in the atmosphere is caused by the employment of such weapons. There were few instances that stick out.

The Popeye Project

So far, it is safe to say that the weather has only been changed once with the intention of causing military and political harm to the enemy.

The American army carried out “Operation Popeye” in Vietnam from 1967 until 1972.

Military transport planes sprinkled silver iodide between the clouds during the rainy season, causing more rain to fall.

In 1966, neighbouring Laos developed this technology, which was later used in combat against the Viet Cong.

“Operation Popeye” was a top-secret weather modification attempt at the time that resulted in the monsoon period being extended by 30 to 45 days on average with considerable rainfall in targeted locations.

Truck traffic was suspended because of the continual rain, and the operation was declared a success. The CIA and then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger decided on a chemical weather manipulation programme in Southeast Asia without consulting the United Nations.

Dr. Donald Hornig, the US President’s approved science and technology adviser and a former member of the nuclear weapons development team, started the whole thing with a simple experiment.

Rain-soaked segments of the Viet Cong army’s communication and logistical lines, as well as parts of the tunnels used by Vietnamese combatants for supplies and movement.

The operation’s short-term impact, which could not have a major impact on the course of the war, was its failure. Ordinary bulldozers were far less expensive and more efficient for the same “job.”

Unlike other conspiracy theories, none of this was concealed.

Scientists have been investigating active disturbance and its influence on the climate since the 1930s. Only the Americans chose to “try it in practise” after finding silver iodide’s activity in 1946.

The Cold War

During the Cold War, but also before it, the USSR conducted extensive research in this area and was far ahead of other countries, if not militarily, then economically.

Techniques to avoid hail formation, for example, were created and are currently used in agriculture in the Caucasus, Moldova, and Central Asia, particularly to safeguard grapes and cotton.

Such military initiatives were developed by Soviet researchers in order to impair the electronic and optical tracking equipment of the time due to adverse weather.

Simply defined, these devices were created with the intention of “blinding” the opponent by dispersing particles in the atmosphere that formed “impermeable curtains,” such as opaque crystalline fog.

Alternatively, they manipulated the environment and improved atmospheric conditions to allow their own radio waves to flow more freely.

Finally, because it was learned how fog crystallises at freezing temperatures and how to reduce the threat to civil aviation in the far north, the result was economic.

“Stormfury” is a TV Show

However, all of the above is a scientific and technological routine that most conspiracy theorists are disinterested in.

Dealing with typhoons, on the other hand, is already far more exciting. Few people realise that this was attempted by both sides of the Cold War at the same time.

The Americans tested on their own country because typhoons are often there and no one paid notice, and the Soviet Union worked on research and testing with Cuba and Vietnam.

The Americans believed that it was sufficient to destroy any piece of the cloud in certain locations, modify the cloud’s energy balance, and change the path and direction of the typhoon.

The goal for US scientists was not to launch a “strike” on certain foggy areas but to calculate precisely which way the storm would turn next.

The project proved impractical even with the Pentagon’s supercomputers at the time, and the “Stormfury” programme was gradually phased out after 1980. However, some amateurs and enthusiasts were so captivated by Hollywood that they achieved “great results” there.

In the Soviet Union, people thought differently.

They wanted to find the typhoon’s “weak points” so they could change its direction and strength. Using this approach, Soviet scientists advanced and discovered how to shape typhoon forms, giving them some control over them.

However, that is only one of the Soviet Union’s achievements, and the typhoon offers no remedy.

The key concern, as it was in the United States during “Operation Popeye,” was expense.

It takes unfathomable amounts of energy to create a typhoon powerful enough to demolish a big modern metropolis for military purposes. Such technology is simply not available now.

That’s the end of the narrative.  Or ?!

Is the government hiding something?

Prior to the 1980s, the world was entertained by a wide range of hoaxes perpetrated by the governments and secret agencies of the Soviet Union, the United States, and a few other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and South Africa. Psychics, super-soldiers, and “racial plagues” in South Africa, which were supposed to be viruses that only plagued the Zulu tribe, were among them. “Alien intelligence” and weapons such as ion, seismic, and climate change should never be mentioned.

The turning point was a new wave of scientific and technological developments, and most of the “exotic programmes” were gradually forgotten.

Many years later, both Russia and George W. Bush were deemed responsible for the devastation caused by Hurricane “Katarina” in Louisiana. Barack Obama was blamed with “ordering” Hurricane Sandy just a week before the election. According to one version, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered California to go through a drought so that the wealthiest state in the country could get federal subsidies. Americans may have started “sending” hurricanes to Panama and Nicaragua as early as 1969.

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be added to this list because he openly blamed Washington for the country’s thirty-year drought. Ironically, a heavy rainstorm hit Tehran just as he finished his speech.


The majority of theories continue to centre on the American HAARP system, a huge high-frequency antenna system built in Alaska in 1997.

The US Defence Advanced Study Projects Agency (DARPA), which assists the US in understanding anything unknown, has officially directed it to do a study on the ionosphere and atmosphere.

Nonetheless, the research has produced no helpful results and is prohibitively expensive.

The US Air Force shuttered the Alaska centre in 2014, stating that they will instead develop other techniques for ionospheric research and monitoring, however they did not specify which.

DARPA cancelled the remaining programme and assistance offered to the facility that summer and the entire complex was transferred to the University of Alaska a year later and no longer performs military responsibilities.

In any case, conspiracy theorists continue to blame the complex’s antennae for the advent of unusual diseases, accidents, and disasters.

There are two other comparable molecules with much less energy. They are in northern Norway, near Tromso and Longyearbyen.

The secrecy of these facilities has given rise to numerous rumours. A forerunner to the HAARP facility was also decommissioned in the same city in Alaska in 2009, and another is being rebuilt in Puerto Rico.

Russia has two ionospheric research facilities, but they utilise significantly less energy than those in Norway. Both are operational.

The “Sura” project in the Nizhny Novgorod region appears “scary” in the same way that HAARP does, and another is under construction at the Siberian Physical and Technical Institute in Tomsk.

Finally, climatic weapons could be considered “urban legends” comparable to the American “Bogeyman” or “War of Mutants in the Moscow Subway.”

This is not to argue that having an active influence on the atmosphere is impossible.

To be serious, advanced countries have sophisticated environmental monitoring systems in place.

There are not only atmospheric and submarine activities, but also seismic activities, but using such weapons is simply impossible since it makes no sense to generate challenges and expenses that outweigh the influence of such technologies on the battlefield.

Conspiracy theories will always exist, but the most important thing to remember is to investigate while also knowing the measure.

“Everything supernatural is actually natural, it just hasn’t been explained yet,” Nikola Tesla famously said.

This post was written by Mario Bekes