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10 Conspiracy Theories About Weather Modification

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Man-made climate change paved the way for American scientists to come up with the idea of weather modification. They reasoned that if daily human activity was already impacting weather patterns, it was acceptable for them to deliberately change the weather for a variety of purposes.

The first meeting about weather modification was held at the end of 1945. At this time, the possibility of using several weather manipulation schemes to America’s advantage during war was discussed. Later, during the Cold War, funds were poured into further research on the topic. This opened the door for using the weather as a secret weapon against enemies. Unfortunately, it also created the opportunity for several people and institutions to use this technology for more sinister purposes. Naturally, this topic is taboo within government organizations, but this hasn’t stopped the theories and even evidence of different “climate engineering events” from popping up all over the Internet.

10Hurricane Sandy Was An Engineered Superstorm

Many believe that Hurricane Sandy was a product of man-made climate change. Then there are those who believe that the storm itself was man-made. The storm was not even over yet when conspiracy theories started flying around. It is said that President Barack Obama engineered the superstorm that slammed into the eastern seaboard just a week before elections were due to take place to ensure his reelection. Proponents of the theory conclude that Obama needed a situation in which he could be the “hero,” helping those in need and ultimately proving he was the best candidate for president.

Conspiracy or not, Hurricane Sandy certainly seemed to help Obama’s presidential bid. He even won over Republican governor Chris Christie, who commented that he “kept every promise he made” when the hurricane struck. Christie declared at a press conference that although he disagreed with the president on principles and policy, he had no regrets working with him, a statement for which the governor received considerable backlash. It fueled rumors of an engineered storm, as it seemed that Obama was out to get even the opposition into his corner.

How would a human even be able to engineer a hurricane? If you believe the theories, it would be possible with the help of The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a government research arm that studies the upper atmosphere. It is believed that HAARP was instrumental in creating Sandy with electromagnetic waves and its SBX platform. Conspiracy theorists are also convinced that Hurricane Katrina was created and steered by HAARP under the order of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Naturally, HAARP denies any involvement.

9The Lynmouth Flood Was Caused By Cloud-Seeding

Devon, Lynmouth Floods 1952
In 1952, 90 million tons of water swept through Lynmouth, a village in Devon. The disaster claimed the lives of 35 people, and 430 lost their homes. It was deemed an “act of God” and a terrible tragedy. However, rumors began to surface that rainmaking experiments may have been to blame for the excessive flooding. It was estimated that the Lynmouth region received 252 times their usual rainfall during the flooding, and it happened within a week of the rainfall experiments undertaken by the Royal Air Force.

It may seem like a creepy coincidence, but it appears to be just that. Experts noted that while rainmaking experiments did indeed take place, only individual cumulus clouds were injected with iodide or dry ice. This led to accelerated rainfall that lasted only about 20 minutes. Furthermore, the flood was not confined to Lynmouth. Heavy showers were reported all over West and South Wales.

8Operation Popeye

Monsoon season in Vietnam is bad enough without interference from government, but during the Vietnam War, the American government attempted to extend monsoon season by at least 30 days by seeding the clouds over the area with silver and lead iodide. This top secret campaign was known as Operation Popeye and ran from 1967–1972. It allegedly focused on increasing rainfall over the resupply routes in the area, particularly the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The plan was kept under wraps until 1971, when a reporter uncovered a memo secretly sent to President Johnson. The memo contained the following message: “Laos operations—Continue as at present plus Pop Eye to reduce the trafficability [sic] along infiltration routes & Authorization requested to implement operational phase of weather modification process previously successful tested and evaluated in some area.”

The reporter, Jack Anderson, wasted no time in bringing this information to the public. This ultimately led to the proposal of a treaty between the US and other governments to prohibit the use of weather modification technology during wartime. The ENMOD (Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques) was signed in 1976 by a host of UN members, ensuring that all forms of weather manipulation are only used for peaceable means.

The American government may deny that Operation Popeye was intended to increase rainfall for sinister purposes, but the conspiracy theories surrounding the project aren’t going away anytime soon.

7Yellow Rain

The Hmong people sided with the US during the Vietnam War. This was not taken lightly by the countries of Vietnam and Laos, who declared a different kind of war on the Hmong tribes: chemical warfare. Witnesses described seeing yellow-colored rain falling from the sky that had an oily texture and seemed to cling to whatever it landed on. Others reported seeing helicopters flying low over the land and spraying the oily liquid over the area.

It seemed that the “yellow rain” had some form of acid in it. Many who came into contact with it claimed to have had seizures, and others even alleged that it blinded them permanently. When Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978, similar statements were made by the Cambodian people.

Interestingly enough, it seems that experts have now concluded that yellow rain was, in fact, the feces of honeybees, making all of the above just an elaborate conspiracy theory. It was also concluded that the toxins found in the yellow rain were naturally produced by fungi in the bee feces.

6The California Drought Was Caused By Geo-Engineering

In May 2013, a state of drought was declared in California that persisted throughout the rest of the year, the state’s driest year to date. In December, a massive wildfire broke out near Big Sur, thought to have been spurred by the dry spell. More than 900 acres of land were destroyed in the blaze. The drought continued into 2014.

The logical explanation given by scientists was that the drought was the result of global warming, man-made climate change, or both. Conspiracy theorists are not buying it, though. They are convinced that geo-engineering is to blame for the drought. According to theorists, geo-engineers have cut the rainfall in California with the continuous spraying of aerosols and use of ionosphere heating. By turning California into a desert, its citizens will be at the mercy of the government to supply food they can no longer provide for themselves, leaving the government in total control of the population.

Proponents of the theory are even going as far as to say that there is no natural weather anymore. They believe that continued geo-engineering has caused the planet’s natural climate system to stop functioning. Now, the geo-engineers are simply making up weather patterns as they go along, hurtling America into a state of weather warfare.

5Solar Radiation Management

Solar radiation management (SRM) is a group of methods to reduce radiation from the sun in the environment by spraying radiation-reflecting chemicals into the atmosphere. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued statements regarding the importance of SRM in fending off global warming, but conspiracy theorists are far from convinced. These statements are merely an attempt to placate the population while using this form of weather modification for sinister purposes, they insist.

Touting SRM as a solution to global warming is seen as a push for geo-engineering funding, chiefly because the people promoting the techniques have also asserted that the phenomenon perceived by some to be chemtrails, another popular conspiracy theory, is actually SRM in action.

4Operation Stormfury

157341179Operation Stormfury was conceived for a noble purpose, or so it seemed. The project was meant to reduce the damage caused by hurricanes by reducing their wind speed. The operation ran from 1962–1983 and involved creating artificial convection just outside the eye of the storm with silver iodide seeding. The iodide created a new eye wall, which would close the original eye of the storm, reducing its intensity. This process was tested with four hurricanes and showed promising results. At one point, hurricane wind speed was reduced by up to 30 percent.

However, the results of the operation have been called into question. It was proven that unmodified hurricanes didn’t contain enough supercooled water for cloud seeding to have the desired effect. Critics concluded that the original results of modification couldn’t be trusted, as no positive differentiation was made between modified hurricanes and natural ones.

Conspiracy theories abound that the US military simply wanted to see if they could control hurricanes to their advantage. Under the guise of “wanting to increase protection and lessen damage caused by these storms,” the military could experiment to their hearts’ content.

3Europe Is ‘Stealing Rain’ From Iran

Hand of a child holding a plastic cup collecting rain water.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is convinced that Europe is using special technology to drain rain clouds over Iran and cause it to rain over Europe instead. He accused Western countries of conspiring to cause droughts in marked areas, including Iran. Ironically, just after he made this statement during an inauguration ceremony, it started raining.

Ahmadinejad is known to be a conspiracy theorist, and many regard him as a lunatic. However, considering all the other theories about weather modification, his claims don’t seem that far-fetched. He went on to claim that an unidentified politician predicted in an article that there would be droughts in Iran, Turkey, and surrounding areas for the next 30 years. Most have brushed him off as a rambling maniac, but what if there is some truth to his words?


If you were to believe various conspiracy theories, airplane contrails that disperse slowly are actually what’s known as “chemtrails.” Rather than harmless vapor, chemtrails are said to be chemicals sprayed into the atmosphere by government institutions.

Widespread suspicion about chemtrails really took off in the ’90s, after the US Air Force published a paper about their research on weather modification. When cloud-seeding was used at the Beijing Olympic Games as an effort to reduce the terrible air pollution problem, conspiracy has it that its real purpose was to get rid of threatening rain clouds before the games began. Other popular theories include weather modification being used to control the population, curb global warming, and divert public attention from the testing of military weapons.

Governments are sticking to their guns on the topic on chemtrails. They insist that all visible vapor lines in the air are just contrails, no matter how long it takes to disperse. The worst thing about the chemtrails conspiracy is that it distracts from the real danger of contrails caused by aircraft, which is that they may contribute to global warming.


At the center of most weather modification conspiracies is the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). This military research organization is thought to be a secret weapon in weather modification schemes. Considering that HAARP really does exist and its purpose really does include weather-related research, it has become difficult to separate the conspiracy from what could be the truth.

A CBC documentary probably said it best with this quote: “It isn’t just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. In January of 1999, the European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility.”

Naturally, HAARP itself denies any sinister agenda, but that doesn’t make them any less suspicious when it comes to weather warfare conspiracies. Even the appearance of its Alaska facility gives way to conspiracy theories. Outside is a mass of antennae that forms a geometric pattern, and barbed wire ensures that the public doesn’t get to see any further than this bizarre spectacle. The antennae are even the subject of their own conspiracy theory: Some believe they could be responsible for earthquakes such as the massive 8.9 quake that struck Japan in 2011. It is thought that focusing the antennae on a specific point in the ionosphere long enough can cause it to pull away and then snap back into place with so much force that it can cause earthquakes.

HAARP has been blamed for Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Wilma, and Rita. It has even been said that the organization is actively practicing mind control on American citizens with shortwave radio signals.

I’m a wannabe fiction writer who has a fascination with all things creepy and spooky.

fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.