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FOIA Reveals U.S. Air Force Geophysics Directorate Weather Modification Intentions

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Classified Release

TITLE: Weather Modification Using Carbon Black [1]

PROPOSED BY: Phillips Laboratory (AFMC), Geophysics Directorate

Technical Description:

In the paper "Weather Modification by Carbon Dust Absorption of Solar Energy" Gray el al (Journal of Applied Meteorology, Vol 15, April 1976, 355-386) showed that observational and modeling information indicated that the solar heating of carbon dust could be deployed on the theatre scaled (~100-300km) to achive precipitation enhancement, to create cirrus clouds, and to dissipate fog and low clouds. Previous work by this laboratory:

  1. demonstrated the ability to dissipate fog and low stratus over airfields and
  2. employed precipitation enhancement techniquest to muddy the Ho Chi Minh trail reducing the flow of supplies from North Vietnam.

Risks and Limitations:

  1. Creation of optimum submicron particles: Low
  2. Achieve and maintaining desired horizontal distribution of carbon black: Medium
  3. Opportunities to capitalize on investment militarily: Medium/High
  4. Political implications/health hazards: Medium/Low

Project Plan - Major Milestones

  1. Numerical model studies completed 1996
  2. Engineering design of test engine mod. 1997
  3. Ground-based field trials comleted. 1999
  4. Airborne test and evaluation of prototypes completed 2001
  5. Engineering design for airborne carbon black delivery system completed 2003
  6. Operational capability 2004

Rough estimate of the total cost to operational capability: $23.5 million. Life cycle costs have not been estimated.

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"Weather modification Using Carbon Black." USAF Phillips Laboratory (AFMC) Geophysics Directorate (1994). •
"ENMOD - Hostile Environmental Modification." Sunshine Project (2006).

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