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Weather and Climate Modification Reports from 1965-1966

The Honorable Leland J. Haworth
National Science Foundation
Washington, D. C.

Dear Dr. Haworth:

It is an honor to transmit herewith to the National Science Foundation the report of the Special Commission on Weather Modification, authorized by the National Science Board at its meeting on October 17-18, 1963, in accordance with Sections 3(a)(7) and 9 of the National Science Foundation Act of 1950 [1], as amended, and appointed by you on June 16, 1964. The Commission was requested to examine the physical, biological, legal, social, and political aspects of the field and make recommendations concerning future policies and programs.

The physical science aspects have been studied primarily through cooperative liaison with the National Academy of Sciences' Panel on Weather and Climate Modification. Much of the background work for the treatment of the other aspects of the problem was carried out under National Science Foundation grants or contracts, reports of which research and study are to be published as stated in the Appendix.

The Commission held eleven meetings supplemented by many days of study, research, writing and conferences. The Commission report has been prepared by and its content is concurred in by all the members of the Commission.

The Commission was assisted throughout its deliberations by an Executive Secretary. Dr. Edward P. Todd served in this capacity during the early months. Mr. Jack C. Oppenheimer succeeded Dr. Todd and has done an outstanding job of assisting the Commission.

Respectfully submitted,
A. R. Chamberlain, Chairman
Vice President
Colorado State University [2]

In 1966 the Committee on Atmospheric Sciences from the National Research Council stated in their report “Weather and Climate Modification, Problems and Prospects” that jet aircraft creating too much water vapor in the stratosphere could raise earth’s surface temperature by 1.6 degrees Celsius.

The possibility must be examined that the residence times for stratospheric contamination are so long that significant concentrations can build up from supersonic transport operations. If the contaminants introduced into the lower stratosphere remain there on the average of 10 years (about 10 times longer than is presently suspected), supersonic transports could double the concentration of water vapor naturally present. This would affect the radiation balance, but not in very important degree, according to model calculations of Manabe (1965). Assuming fixed relative humidity, Manabe finds that a five-fold increase of stratospheric water vapor would raise the temperature of the earth’s surface by 1.6°C. [3]

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Dubridge, Lee A. "National Science Foundation Act." (1950): 162-162. •
"Weather and Climate Modification." Report of the Special Commission on Weather Modification, National Science Foundation (1965)
National Research Council (US). Committee on Atmospheric Sciences. "Weather and Climate Modification Problems and Prospects: Final Report of the Panel on Weather and Climate Modification." Vol. 1. National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, (1966).

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