The Chemtrail Hoax


by Alex Drone

The white trails that you sometimes see lingering in the sky are thought by many to be malicious chemical laden fumes spewed by aircrafts called chemtrails. Not that long ago, due to disinformation on the web and in particular YouTube, I bought into the chemtrail hype. However, thanks to Jerry E Smith who authored, Weather Warfare, I have a better understanding of what those trails (contrails) really are. He really clears the air (pardon the pun) on what causes contrails to form. There is a lot of misinformation out there.

Contrail formations are primarily dependent on two things: temperature and humidity. The colder and more humid the upper atmosphere the more likely contrails will form. Often an observation of the sky can alert you to changes in frontal systems. Contrails that all of a sudden start to appear tells you of increased humidity in the atmosphere and thus a strong possibility of approaching rain showers within the next couple of days.

(Bad science. The video below is disinformation:)

A lot of people mistaken contrails for gases when they are actually solids. They fail to realize that at the altitudes commercial planes fly (typically 35-38,000 feet), the atmosphere is typically -40 degrees or colder and water vapor quickly freeze to form ice crystals. Contrails are less likely to form in the southwestern part of the US, because the air is too warm and dry. The gases from the planes usually evaporate before they freeze.

One however may ask, why are contrails more common today than they were in the past? The answer is that, due to technological improvements, the composition of exhaust gases from jet engines have become much cleaner over the years. More than thirty years ago, planes spewed a lot more unburned fuel in the atmosphere. These fumes were typically brown and black colored. These dark colored gases that froze would quickly melt due to absorption from the sunlight.

Sometimes during the late 1970s, it was discovered that simply fitting a device on the inlet of a jet engine called, “High Bypass Turbofan”, made significant improvements to fuel efficiency. By the 1990s, all planes were equipped with this technology. Instead of dirty unburned gases, the gases became white and comprised mainly of carbon dioxide and water vapor. That’s why old-timers may have recalled the atmosphere looking different back than versus today. The trails would only last minutes instead of hours or even days like they do today.

An analogy of the jet plane would be the automobile. On old pre-1975 cars, the white exhaust plume on cold mornings were far less noticeable because the exhausts were primarily composed of carbon monoxide. On today’s cars with catalytic converters, those toxic gases are almost entirely in the form of carbon dioxide and H2O.

These cleaner exhausts from jets have one major side effect, however. The long lasting trails have been inadvertently responsible for altering surface temperatures due to their insulating effects and blockage of sunlight. The contrails actually form into clouds after an extended period of time. This effect is most pronounced in urban areas with a lot of commercial flight activities. In the wake of 9/11, when flights were grounded for three days, scientists had a once in a lifetime opportunity to study the sky without contrails. What they observed was the largest diurnal (difference between the high and low temperature) difference in 30 years of measurements. The conclusion is that contrails act as a blanket and prevents heat from escaping at night. On the flipside contrails block out some sunlight to prevent the surface from fully heating.

It is ironic that in the age of cleaner and more efficient technology, we have some of the most prolific complaints about them. This is not to say there isn’t any malicious chemicals being sprayed in the air, but that we just don’t know. What we can say is that the formation of contrails is a poor indicator of whether there are chemicals in them or not.



Smith, Jerry E, Weather Warfare, Adventures Unlimited Press, 2006.

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