Weather As A Force Multiplier: Owning The Weather in 2025
Concept of Operations
The essential ingredient of the weather-modification system is the set of intervention techniques used to modify the weather.
The number of specific intervention methodologies is limited only by the imagination, but with few exceptions they involve infusing either energy or chemicals into the meteorological process in the right way, at the right place and time.
The intervention could be designed to modify the weather in a number of ways, such as influencing clouds and precipitation, storm intensity, climate, space, or fog.
(translation: "All of our ideas on how to change the weather involve using either chemicals or electricity shot into the sky")
For centuries man has desired the ability to influence precipitation at the time and place of his choosing.
(translation: "People have always wanted to change the weather for lots of reasons.")
Until recently, success in achieving this goal has been minimal; however, a new window of opportunity may exist resulting from development of new technologies and an increasing world interest in relieving water shortages through precipitation enhancement.
(translation: "People accept the idea of weather modification as it relates to local water supplies and we might be able to squeeze in under that excuse")
Consequently, we advocate that the DOD explore the many opportunities (and also the ramifications) resulting from development of a capability to influence precipitation or conducting "selective precipitation modification."
(translation: "So, we think that the military should check out the idea of using weather modification")
Although the capability to influence precipitation over the long term (i.e., for more than several days) is still not fully understood.
By 2025 we will certainly be capable of increasing or decreasing precipitation over the short term in a localized area.
(translation: "Even though the scientists don't really know what they're doing, in time they will at least be able to change the weather in a small area")
Before discussing research in this area, it is important to describe the benefits of such a capability.
While many military operations may be influenced by precipitation, ground mobility is most affected.
Influencing precipitation could prove useful in two ways.
First, enhancing precipitation could decrease the enemy's trafficability by muddying terrain, while also affecting their morale.
Second, suppressing precipitation could increase friendly trafficability by drying out an otherwise muddied area.
What is the possibility of developing this capability and applying it to tactical operations by 2025?
Closer than one might think.
Research has been conducted in precipitation modification for many years, and an aspect of the resulting technology was applied to operations during the Vietnam War.
These initial attempts provide a foundation for further development of a true capability for selective precipitation modification.
Interestingly enough, the US government made a conscious decision to stop building upon this foundation.
As mentioned earlier, international agreements have prevented the US from investigating weather-modification operations that could have widespread, long-lasting, or severe effects.
However, possibilities do exist (within the boundaries of established treaties) for using localized precipitation modification over the short term, with limited and potentially positive results.
(translation: "The United Nations won't let us do widespread damage with weather modification, but we can still do things in smaller areas using the 'water supply' excuse")
These possibilities date back to our own previous experimentation with precipitation modification. As stated in an article appearing in the Journal of Applied Meteorology,
"[Nearly] all [of] the weather-modification efforts over the last quarter century have been aimed at producing changes on the cloud scale through exploitation of the saturated vapor pressure difference between ice and water.
This is not to be criticized but it is time we also consider the feasibility of weather-modification on other time-space scales and with other physical hypotheses."
(translation: "Everyone's been working on how to get clouds to rain or not rain, but we have some new ideas using physics")