# Why aren't there more questions and concerns about chemtrails? [closed]

Chemtrails are amazingly obvious in our daily life but why aren't we more concerned? The information and patents for the chemicals we? are spraying are readily available. The chemicals are huge pollutants and are changing the pH of soil and water. Do we really know enough to try to change the weather which is the 'why' they tell us and/or reduce global warming? They've been doing this (supposedly for 60+ years. Why aren't we more informed and concerned?

• Such questions are generally a better fit for Skeptics.SE. – Deer Hunter Dec 11 '14 at 4:45
• 1. Who are the "they" you are talking about? 2. Do you have any credible references for any of your claims? – Gimelist Dec 11 '14 at 6:32
• @DeerHunter skeptics already has covered this topic. Although the topic is based on conspiracy theory and not science, keeping this one around will let us immediately close any future chemtrail question as a duplicate of this one. – casey Dec 11 '14 at 16:31
• @Stormy you make some wild claims and assertions in a comment to my answer. Please edit your question to provide any peer-reviewed literature, patents applications and awards, documented quotes from people and any other actual evidence that can back up your claims. – casey Dec 11 '14 at 20:46
• @stormy we are not getting 'emotional', we are just asking for you to provide evidence to help prove your claim. Science is based on reproducible evidence. It is incumbent on you to provide evidence to support your claim. – user889 Dec 11 '14 at 21:51

Because chemtrails do not exist. I am not only a meteorologist, but a former airline pilot. In short (you can ask a new question about this if you are so interested), contrails are a form of a mixing cloud, the exact same mechanism that causes you to see your breath on a cold day.

The saturation vapor pressure curve is exponential so it is possible to have two air parcels that are subsaturated, but when mixed produce a supersaturated parcel. When jet engine exhaust and the ambient atmosphere are favorable, a contrail mixing cloud is what happens when they mix together.

The active chemical in a contrail is water vapor ($\ce{H2O}$) and carbon soot particles that perform as cloud condensation nuclei to allow condensed droplet formation (these are a byproduct of combustion).

Say it again with me:

Chemtrails do not exist

To address your other points, there are processes that affect the pH of water and produce "Acid rain". The chemicals that form this, however, typically emanate from the smokestacks of coal burning power plants or other industrial pollutants that produce fine particles of acid salts that act as cloud condensation nuclei. Airplanes are not part of this problem.

As far as changing the weather goes, you are probably referring to cloud seeding via the release of silver iodide. These are cloud condensation nuclei that promote droplet growth at low humidities and can be released to form precipitating clouds. Specialized airplanes do this in very specific places and at low levels. These are not in any way related to the contrails you see from normal jet traffic.

• @stormy Science is based upon evidence. Please provide sources for your assertions and links to relevant patents. Yes, we see mixing clouds every day high up in the sky in trail of airplanes, but these are contrails. The planes I flew made them in the right conditions and there was nothing but Jet-A and air fed into those engines whose output mixed to become a cloud. Weather modification is a real thing and no one is going to deny that (cloud seeding, etc), but they are not related to contrails (which are the things you claim to be chemtrails). – casey Dec 11 '14 at 20:44
• @stormy on one of these cold mornings, go start your car and look at the cloud coming from your exhaust pipe. If the things in the sky are chemtrails, then so is that cloud coming out of your car, making you part of the conspiracy. The cloud coming out of your car is made through the exact same process as the contrails behind an airplane. Seeing your breath on a cool morning is also the exact same mechanism, a mixing cloud and not a chemtrail. – casey Dec 11 '14 at 20:48
• @stormy without peer reviewed papers that include measurements etc then these claims are just unsubstantiated claims. – user889 Dec 11 '14 at 21:49
• @stormy whether the military is or isn't working on that task is irrelevant because you aren't looking at military research, you are looking at clouds. We have already described how the vapor trails aka clouds get turned on/off, which is by flying into/out of areas with proper humidity levels for mixing clouds to form. Flying from A to B isn't 1 straight line but it is a series of connected very straight lines that can go on for hundreds of miles. I was an airline pilot for 4 years should you need some assurance I know how aviation works.(I'm also a flight instructor and meteorologist) – casey Nov 26 '15 at 22:57
• @stormy water is a better GHG than CO2 (and so is methane) but the H20 vs CO2 thing is a feedback vs forcing mechanism (see other Qs on this site for details). No one is debating "seeding" or geoengineering weather attempts, we are merely telling you that contrails are unrelated to these activities. Contrails actually do not abruptly start/stop, the edges are quite diffuse, you just can't notice that observing them from 6 - 7 miles away. Water vapor is stratified in layers and horizontally can have sharp gradients (see satellite water vapor imagery). – casey Mar 4 '16 at 13:25

Just to add to casey's answer about the so called 'chemtrails', according to NASA's The Contrail Education Project webpage, that the actual amounts of anything else from a plane's exhaust is negligible, barely any amount at all - and these are just the products of the fuel burning (including soot) in the same process (with different hydrocarbons) as a car engine.

NASA has even produced a Contrail Identification Chart and Formation Guide that visualises and further explains the atmospheric processes that casey explained.

The Discovery News article Viral Video Claims to Prove 'Chemtrails' Conspiracy (May 1, 2014) about a claim of 'irrefutable proof' of chemtrails, but that report was based on poor math skills used in reporting:

So the alarming levels of barium that conspiracy theorist Jim Marrs cited as evidence of chemtrails was in fact a mistake created by a TV reporter’s poor math skills.

Chemical Analysis of Contrails reports of testing of rainwater and snow, and found that the values for chemicals often cited by chemtrail conspiracy theorists (i.e. aluminium, barium, calcium, magnesium and titanium) were found to be no where near toic levels - in fact, given that the sources of these elements are both industrial and natural - there is no way that these can even be definitively linked to contrails.

As casey said and as many credible sources state that the evidence is that chemtrails do not exist

• An amusing collection of metals there: Titanium is routinely used for medical implants, Barium is digested for imaging, and all the others are very common in garden soil. I know there's more to it than just that (oxidation levels/etc) but still... – winwaed Dec 11 '14 at 15:14
• @winwaed yes, I agree, I had an eyebrow raising moment when I read that list - especially as Aluminium is one of the most common elements on the Earth's surface etc. Considering how scattered any aeroplane aerosols would become, a granny on a motor scooter would cause more of a 'chemtrail'. – user889 Dec 11 '14 at 20:35
• What possible motivation would there be for 'conspiracy theories'? Why are there still contrails that dissipate right next to planes where the 'contrails' persist? What about the stopping and starting of 'contrails'? Anyhoo. Got a major headache reading your articles and arguments, but I got through it. Not convinced, yet. I bow to you guys, you are the scientists. Isn't there a simple answer us non-scientists could understand? Oh, I'll be back when I have better questions until you are stumped or you've proven that 'chemtrails' are a totally normal phenomenon. Thank you!! – stormy Mar 5 '15 at 20:37
• Still reading all the abstracts from AMS...have you read all of them? Why are they talking about sulfur? Why are some of the abstracts deleted? Later...arghhhh...grin. – stormy Mar 5 '15 at 21:08
• @stormy - Your questions were answered, and quite deftly I would say. CONTRAILS are a cloud formed by a jet engine, and nothing nefarious. If you seem convinced that they are otherwise, the onus is on you to provide evidence of this. Tainted soil doesn't cut it. – ceeboosh Apr 27 '17 at 1:49