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August 19, 2010 / Dave Gorham

A Secret Climate Change Weapon? Ridiculous!

A Russian political scientist believes the U.S. may be using a climate-change weapon (HAARP) to alter temperatures in Russia and other Central Asian countries. First off, that’s just ridiculous; the only thing in control of the weather is Mother Nature. I’ll agree temperatures this summer in Russia, specifically in the Moscow area, have been extremely hot with the highest temperature ever recorded at 39ºC (102.2ºF) on July 29. Typically this time of year, Moscow has highs around 23ºC (73ºF), but heat waves can occur between May and September. Granted, usually they last a week or two at a time with daytime highs near 30ºC (86ºF), so this summer is very unusual. But it’s not just Russia experiencing a severe heat wave as temperatures across most of the U.S., Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, North Africa and the European continent as a whole, along with parts of Canada,  Indochina, South Korea and Japan have been well above average.

Grass fires burn near Moscow as record high temperatures are set this summer. Photo: AFP

There are currently several conspiracy theories floating around about HAARP. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program is an ionospheric (uppermost part of the atmosphere) research program that’s used to advance knowledge of the physical and electrical properties of the earth’s ionosphere which can affect military, civilian communication and navigation systems. The research facility is located in Gakona, Alaska.

The HAARP is a scientific endeavor aimed at studying the properties and behavior of the ionosphere. Image: HAARP

 Contrary to what the Russian political scientist believes, HAARP does not affect the weather and the energy it transmits is not absorbed in either the troposphere or the stratosphere, which are the two levels of the atmosphere that produce weather. Also, no association between the natural ionospheric variability and surface weather/climate has been found. But this doesn’t keep people from generating conspiracy theories about it, including blaming it for catastrophic events such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and most recently the Russian heat wave.

The thought of a “climate weapon” that could alter temperatures on earth is crazy, but the U.S. isn’t the only one thought to have a secret climate weapon. There’s a conspiracy theory that the Yukuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge itself for the Hiroshima atom bomb attack and that this technology will soon be wielded again to hit another U.S. city. Now that’s just another absurd theory.

 We all know weather varies from day to day and climate too can vary year to year depending on various conditions. For example, yes Moscow is experiencing a severe heat wave this summer but that’s because they’ve had a strong high pressure zone in the upper atmosphere over Central Russia and this has basically blocked the eastward movement of a cold front to the west of the area. By doing so, south to south-southwesterly winds continue across the area. These hot winds are flowing northward from southern Europe and western Asia, as well as Africa. Obviously this isn’t a typical setup for this area and that’s why temperatures are well above average this summer in Moscow.

Maximum temperatures (in Celsius) near Moscow during the 2010 Northern Hemisphere summer heat wave. Map: Wikipedia

Bottom line, climate for a certain region can vary year to year and that doesn’t mean there is a secret climate weapon causing it. Think about it, is every hurricane season the same? No. Some years are more active than others. Is every winter the same? No. In fact, in February of 2010 Dallas received a record 12.5 inches of snow in a 24-hour period and on average it only snows about 2-3 days a year for an average snow total of 2.5 inches. But I guess there’s probably a conspiracy theory out there about that, too.


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