Chemtrails: Real or Not?
Today we're going to put on our Men In Black suits, buy a plane ticket, and spray the world with mysterious chemicals as part of an evil government conspiracy. For today's subject is chemtrails.
Wow. Where to begin. I read a fair amount of skeptical, paranormal, and conspiracy websites, but I don't recall ever reading so much vituperation, anger, and name calling as when I read a few forums discussing chemtrails. If you're not familiar with the term, chemtrails are what some conspiracy theorists call aircraft condensation trails. Most of them don't believe that conventional contrails exist, and that when you see one, you're actually seeing a trail of mysterious airborne chemicals sprayed from the aircraft. Those who do concede the existence of contrails often claim subtle differences in appearance or behavior between a condensation trail and a chemical trail.
First, let's discuss exactly what a contrail is. A condensation trail, also called a vapor trail, forms at altitudes above 25,000 feet in temperatures below -40 degrees when engine exhaust condenses into ice crystals, creating an artificial cirrus cloud. Water is produced by hydrocarbon burning engines in about the same quantity as fuel consumed, and in the right conditions, this extra addition of water into the air pushes the water vapor past the saturation point, and condensation occurs. It takes a moment to happen, which accounts for the contrail appearing a short distance behind the aircraft, rather than immediately, like you'd see from a smoke pod on an aerobatic plane, or like when a crop duster releases chemicals. Contrails can also be caused at high altitudes by the extreme low pressure areas created by wingtip vortices, which reduce the temperature enough to condense the existing moisture in the air. As previously mentioned, many chemtrail believers claim that there is no such thing as a condensation trail. Since they're well understood, 100% reproducible, and observable practically any time you look into the sky, the onus is really on the believers to prove that no such thing is possible. In my opinion they have quite an uphill battle on this one.
By the way, in case you're wondering whether I meant Celsius or Fahrenheit when I said -40 degrees, here's a bit of science trivia for you. -40 is the point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales are the same. If you can figure out where Fahrenheit and Kelvins intersect, go to Skeptoid.com and post it in the forum.
Some chemtrail believers say that the population is being gassed with some unknown chemical for an unknown reason. Others tie into pop culture, suggesting that chemtrails are the active manifestation of one proposal to combat global warming by placing dust into the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight. One guy told me "You guys are so full of yourselves just can't conceive of spiritual warfare can you? Try this fact: malevolent interdimensional entities are involved — project keep the human slave race suppressed."
Like all conspiracy theories, chemtrails require us to accept the existence of a coverup of mammoth proportions. In this case, virtually every aircraft maintenance worker at every airport in the world needs to be either part of the conspiracy, or living under a threat from Men in Black, with not a single whistle blower or deathbed confession in decades. Yet the threats are not frightening enough to prevent stories like the following from appearing on the Internet:
Another forum poster replied:
I take back my comment about the lack of whistle blowers. It seems that just about everyone is discussing it freely, and since the government is openly laying out virtually all the essential details to 20 people in every airline office in the world with complicity from all the union reps, why the secrecy? If we're truly on the edge of a global warming catastrophe and a worldwide cooperative effort to spray reflective dust into the atmosphere is the only way we can save ourselves, wouldn't a little glasnost be a more effective approach? Of course it would, but then we wouldn't have had those two very exciting and original stories.
If the goal was to drug a population, you'd put the gas where it could reach people, you wouldn't release a minute quantity into the jet stream where it's going to be diluted to undetectable levels and eventually rain into the oceans. If the goal is to put reflective dust into the atmosphere to fight global warming, you'd need to plant it a lot higher than commercial jets can travel if you don't want it to rain right back to earth (in fact you need to put it well up into the stratosphere, not just at the top of the troposphere), and you'd need a lot more than can ever be delivered with 50 gallon tanks. But then, the arguments in favor of chemtrails don't appear to be based on any kind of logic. They appear to be based on nothing more than imagined conspiracies and sightings of visible contrails, which are well understood, and are being left by planes every hour of the day over every city in the world, and have been for over 50 years. It's how the malevolent interdimensional entities remind us of their ominous presence.
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