Believers contend feds behind 'global dimming'
They call it Project Cloverleaf. At night, giant planes with no pilots
roam the sky over the U.S. Instead of a mere vapor trail, they are filling the
sky with unknown chemicals designed to darken the earth.
To thousands of people around the U.S., this is not a sci-fi movie or even
a conspiracy theory; it is real.
Scott Stevens is a believer.
Stevens, a meteorologist and weatherman with News Channel 6 in Pocatello,
said the phenomenon known as "global dimming" could be a clandestine
operation by the government to slow the effects of global warming.
While global dimming is a contentious scientific issue, some scientists
think thicker cloud cover may be reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the
Stevens, who also runs the Web site www.weatherwars.info,
said he believes the cloud cover is generated by airplanes with chemical
substances in their fuel to increase and extend the effects of vapor trails.
Stevens has appeared on several national radio shows, including "Coast
to Coast AM," in an effort to educate the public about chemtrails.
"It's called 'Project Cloverleaf' and it is the primary reason the U.S.
has not signed the Kyoto accord, because we already launched a program to try
to counteract the CO2 problem and the methane problem," Stevens said. "And
that is through distribution of aerosol."
Science has established that vapor trails left by jets can form into clouds,
actually growing and spreading. Some scientists think vapor trails might be
part of a decrease in sunlight reaching the earth, but they do not believe Project
While scientists may be skeptical, people around the world have latched onto
the unconventional idea. A Google search of "project cloverleaf" brings
up about 50,000 hits, many of them conspiracy theory Web sites. A search of
"chemtrail" gets about 280,000 hits.
Stevens said it is perfectly logical that jets would produce contrails and
said it would be unusual if they did not.
"The question is persistence," he said. "What happens is eight
days out of ten, conditions are favorable so that when a plane flies, the contrails
persist. I would guess that normal is closer to 3.5 to five days. That means
a rough guess is that there is a doubling in the number of days where these
contrails can last."
Stevens said many different types of aircraft are spreading the aerosol
as part of Project Cloverleaf.
"I think you have the whole range. I think you have some aircraft
that have clean fuel. I think you have some aircraft that have some additive
within the fuel to create additional cloud cover," Stevens said. "And
then you have the black ops planes, and that is all they do. There is the regular
condensation trail, and then everything else is for the delivery of aerosols."
Patrick Minnus, a senior research scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center,
said that contrails currently account for roughly 3 percent of the cloud cover
over the U.S.
Minnus said cloud cover generated by airplanes increased by about 3 percent
between 1971 and 1995, but he attributed the increase to additional air traffic,
not to a clandestine operation by the government.
"I don't understand it," Minnus said. "Its just one of those
conspiracy theories. No amount of logic can debunk it."
The theory may have been hatched after Minnus, David Young and Donald Garber,
all researchers and NASA's Langley research center, presented a paper called
"Transformation of Contrails into Cirrus during Subsonic Clouds and Contrails
Effects Special Study," Minnus said.
In the study, the researchers used a DC-8 airplane to fly an oval pattern off
the coast of Texas.
"We just watched the contrail blossom and turn into a huge cirrus cloud,"
When they presented the paper in 1998, the Project Cloverleaf theory began
to spring up, he said, adding that he did not know if it was coincidence or
Minnus said that contrails are formed in air below -39 Celsius when the air
is supersaturated with ice.
Due to the physical structure of ice, the humidity level actually has to be
higher, about 150 percent humidity level, than it would be for the air to be
supersaturated with water.
"The exhaust (jet engine) injects a lot of water into the air," Minnus
"The water droplets immediately freeze and you wind up with a contrail."
Minnus said once the contrail is formed in supersaturated air, larger ice particles
become nuclei and begin to grow, collecting other ice particles from the surrounding
As the particles get heavier, they begin to fall out of the contrail, spreading
it vertically, wind shear spreads the contrail horizontally as it continues
to collect ice from the atmosphere.
Minnus said in a 1998 paper called "Spreading and Growth of Contrails
in a Sheared Environment," that aged contrails can form into clouds almost
unidentifiable from natural cirrus clouds.
"Since these persistent contrails have long lifetimes and grow to cover
large areas, they have the greatest potential for affecting regional or global
climate," Minnus said in the paper.
Stevens' idea of weather modification by the government may seem far-fetched
to climate scientists.
But other scientists have considered airplane contrails as a means of counteracting
A paper published by the National Academy of Sciences in 1992, "Policy
Implications of Greenhouse Warming: Mitigation, Adaptation, and the Science
Base," speculates that commercial airliners could use contrails or spread
dust to combat global warming.
In the geoengineering section of the study (p.459), the paper states, "Cloud
stimulation by provision of cloud condensation nuclei appears to be a feasible
and low-cost option capable of being used to mitigate any quantity of CO2 equivalent
The paper also says, "These possibilities appear feasible, economical
and capable of mitigating the effect of as much CO2 equivalent per year as we
care to pay for ... Such systems could probably be put into full effect within
a year or two of a decision to do so, and mitigation effects would begin immediately."
Ellsworth Dutton, an NOAA research meteorologist based in Boulder, Colorado,
said there is not only no Project Cloverleaf, there is no global dimming.
"The last published data set that showed a downward trend (in solar radiation
reaching the earth's surface) was published in 1990," he said.
Dutton said there was a curious decrease in service radiation during the 1970s
and 1980s but that trend appeared to have ended.
Stevens says global dimming is not only occurring, but is having an effect.
"We have seen a real result because we have not seen the warming that
should have accompanied the increased output from the sun, carbon dioxide, the
methane. We have not seen the evaporation off the oceans that should have accompanied
Stevens has no doubt about the feasibility of keeping the general population
in the dark while operation a huge weather manipulation project.
"There is nothing that isn't possible. The only thing that gets in your
way is your will. If you have thousands of scientists, an unlimited budget and
political powers telling you to do something, it gets done," Stevens said,
adding that people need to be alert to changes.
"There have been some manipulations of the environment for a rather lengthy
period of time. We are coming up on thirty years that weather engineering has
been attempted, if not accomplished. It is indeed within forty years where we
begin to see this slope of warming accelerating," Stevens said. "How
much of that is mankind and how much is natural?"