Are spy agencies working on weaponising the weather?

16 Feb 2015

It is only something that one of James Bond’s countless nemeses could dream up. However, it doesn’t appear to be fiction to suggest spy agencies in the US are looking into a weapon that can control the climate.

That’s the concern of a leading climate scientist who admitted to being a little shaken after taking a phone call from two CIA agents who were curious about the potential of being able to control the weather.

Alan Robock, a distinguished professor and specialist in geoengineering at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has stated the CIA agents called him three years ago to ask him if it was possible for hostile forces to begin manipulating weather in the US.

However, Robock was equally suspicious that the agents were also wondering if it was possible for the US to meddle with the weather of other countries.

Robock made the disclosure last week in San Jose, California, at the annual meeting for the American Association of the Advancement of Science.

He said he told the agents it might be possible by putting material into the atmosphere that would reflect sunlight.

Robock’s research includes investigation of the potential risks of using stratospheric particles to simulate the climate-changing effects of volcanic eruptions.

Weather without you

The CIA partly funded, along with US space agency NASA, the US Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, a US$600,000 two-volume report by the National Academy of Sciences on tackling climate change.

The first part of the report focused on ways of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while the second volume looked on ways to change clouds or the Earth’s surface to reflect more sunlight into space.

In 2009, the CIA established the Center on Climate Change and National Security to focus on how climate change would impact US security but closed the centre in 2012.

This isn’t the first time the US government has dabbled in climate control. According to The Guardian, in the 1960s researchers on Project Storm Fury seeded thunderstorms in various particulars in the hope of reducing their power.

During the Vietnam War, clouds were apparently seeded over the Ho Chi Minh trail to make the route muddy to transport soldiers, supplies and weapons.

Tornado image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years