The “Chemtrail” Conspiracy Theory.

Someone recently made me aware of this apparently somewhat popular conspiracy theory which says that contrails (the white lines behind large airplanes) are basically crop-dusting the country with chemicals.  I can see how someone could think this, I’ve looked at a contrail and thought “man that plane must give off a lot of exhaust”, and it wasn’t until I looked into it that I discovered that the trail behind a plane isn’t the exhaust, because the exhaust is invisible since the fuel is kerosine which like car exhaust gives off invisible carbon dioxide/monoxide emissions as a byproduct.  This is why you don’t see billows of smoke when a jet is warming up on the runway or taking off, though you may see wavy lines from the heat.  No, the contrail is actually a long, artificial cloud created by the air flow of the plane condensing the moisture in the air, then the engines heating it and it rapidly cooling in the wake of the plane and crystallizing to form a cloud.  And while it undoubtedly does contain some exhaust from the plane, it is almost entirely composed of water from the air.

The conspiracy theory goes on to say that short contrails are contrails, and long ones are so-called chemtrails, or chemical trails.  In other words, this is a contrail:

While this is supposedly a chemtrail:

Note that the “chemtrail” does not start at the back of the plane as it would if it were something coming out of the plane, but rather it starts a significant distance behind it (due to the water vapor taking a little time to cool down and become visible).  Whereas crop-dusting looks like this:

No gap between the chemicals and the dusting apparatus.

The length of the contrail is also heavily effected by the temperature of the surrounding air, the speed of the plane and the level of humidity.  In dry, hot climates or at lower altitudes the contrail will be shorter since the water vapor will dissipate or evaporate quickly, while in other climates or at higher altitude (where it is typically much colder) contrails can stretch for miles.

According to the conspiracy theories “chemtrails” are everything from toxic chemicals meant to kill us to atmosphere modification to fight global warming.  There is no evidence for these “chemtrails” I have yet seen, it is generally people speculating from their backyards as far as I can tell.  One video has a guy who collected rain water that fell while planes were flying overhead and said he had it analyzed, then listed all the daangerous and scaaary things found in it, like arsenic and aluminum etc.  But these are extremely common in nature and are found in trace amounts in almost anything – no element is harmful in a small enough amount, you need a certain concentration to be hurt by something.  But people without chemistry backgrounds who don’t know this stuff is everywhere think it must have come from airplanes.

These conspiracy theorists never seem to ask themselves questions like “why would someone who presumably needs to breathe air just like everyone else want to poison the atmosphere?” or “if someone wanted to fight global warming by reconfiguring the planet why wouldn’t they just put up solar reflectors in the desert or something?”  Or “how could any airline stay afloat financially when they’re procuring and dumping billions of tons of crap into the atmosphere?”  Or “how could this be feasible since every airline in the world would have to be in on it (since they all have planes that produce long contrails) and we’d have heard about it from a whistleblower decades ago”, etc.

But then I’m sure that’s where the CIA or the greys or the illuminati come in…

See also:  RE: The Fluorine Conspiracy Theories.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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41 Responses to The “Chemtrail” Conspiracy Theory.

  1. Geo engineering http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoengineering isn’t a myth. It’s admitted to by NASA and the govt now. Do you want to tell me the time lapsed photography that meteorologic groups all over the world have documented into public record are photo shopped or fudged somehow. I’ve seen these numerous times…and the first time I did was 9/12/2001 – the day that all air traffic was grounded.  *i’ll find the pic*And that is still not as shocking as the one’s I’ve seen in the last year alone. 

  2. agnophilo says:

    @ShamelesslyRed – Geo engineering I don’t think is a myth, chemtrails are though.  And how exactly does many contrails in one place prove they contain toxic chemicals?  There are, at a quick google check, well over 200,000 air vehicles in the US as of 2008.  Even if we round down and assume half are helicopters, small aircraft etc, that still leaves around two thousand planes per state.  Look up in the sky at any given time and you’re likely to see a plane or a contrail where one was.  That there are instances with tons of them (especially in major population centers or near/between airports) does not surprise me in the least.  This is the level of proof these conspiracy theorists seem to need, “Look, a chemtrail!”  ::convinced::.

  3. @agnophilo – Mark, you are trying to debunk something that you know nothing about. Planes are used to spray aerosols into the air. The link I gave states that planes *could* be used, and now they are. Barium, aluminum and other metals have been sampled out of the air after the “spraying” has been documented on film. These particular planes have been videoed flying in a circular pattern and then crisscrossing the pattern before they are done–leaving what looks like a checkerboard of contrail in the sky. Except normal contrail dissipate completely in a short amount of time, where these take an entire day to funnel into clouds leaving a crystal clear blue sky in a haze covering blocking out the sun. I have personally witnessed this on countless occasions over the last decade. 

  4. @ShamelesslyRed -Knows nothing about? I’d say he did a pretty good job for just a quick fact check and a use of common sense. Were samples taken in the air before the “spraying?” Has there been a controlled scientific study? What kind of planes were doing the supposed crisscrossing and circling? A lot more questions need to be asked and a lot more data needs to be taken before you can give any credit to this conspiracy theory.

  5. agnophilo says:

    @CoderHead – Should’ve known hovind was behind this shit, lol.@ShamelesslyRed – Planes change course or are redirected to other airports for numerous reasons, a plane turning around is not evidence that it is spraying deadly aerosol.  The “longer contrails are chemtrails” thing and the claims that trace amounts of metal are found in air or water after planes flew overhead I already addressed (did you even read the blog?).

  6. agnophilo says:

    @TheBlueNinjaTiger – Yeah really, take a ton of samples and see what trace crap is already in the air.  Or better yet, ask a frigging airplane engineer if there are secret gigantic gas tanks on commercial planes.

  7. agnophilo says:

    @ShamelesslyRed – “You must log in to see this page.”

  8. i’m not saying there *couldn’t* be nefarious and sinister cases of airborne dispersal out there. to my recollection one such plan was definitely on the drawing board several decades ago, and may have been implemented. but i think many people suffer from the delusion that all contrails are of dubious origin. the fact is, they’re easily explained: one of the primary products of combustion is, in fact, water. and combustion is one things jet engines do very well; indeed, it’s pretty much the ONLY thing they do. so the usual contrail is just that – a trail of water vapor, nucleated and condensed in the very cold upper atmosphere (i grew up calling them vapor trails). in other words, a cloud. the longevity of  a contrail depends entirely on the relative humidity at the altitude of the contrail. just because a sky is blue doesn’t mean it cannot support a long-lived “cloud” – it just means there isn’t enough moisture and/or nucleation sites around to spontaneously form a cloud. but throw in some additional vapor and particulates provided by a jet engine, and there you are. so one can easily explain not only the existence of contrails, but also their variable longevity. about all these checkerboard patterns, who knows. but i suspect the vast majority arise from multiple flights going multiple directions. in other words, people. going places. different places, at altitude. leaving a bunch of crisscrossed jet-poo behind them.

  9. agnophilo says:

    @complicatedlight – Yup, basically.  And I agree, I don’t think it’s impossible that people could be doing nefarious things – but vast conspiracy theories aren’t feasible.  Too many different people with too many different motives, beliefs etc.  A tight-knit group can keep a conspiracy running, anything that needs tons of people to be in on it just wouldn’t work.  Unless it’s a conspiracy to make money legally or something of course.

  10. @agnophilo – 

    This will take some time to watch, but it’s worth the time. In any case, I’m sure that you are familiar with the many times the govt has carried out experiments on our populace that were once classified, notable conspiracy theories ended up holding lots of water when the classified was declassified. This is one more. Our skies ARE being sprayed, this is a fact. Of course, I don’t doubt that the reason of “global warming” is the legitimate excuse accepted for it. Although I don’t buy into global warming…many do. That’s all I have to offer at the minute since the kids just walked in from school. I’ll come back

  11. I uploaded this one from my page on FB for you. I ‘ve seen this same pattern many times. i should write about it http://shamelesslyred.xanga.com/photos/3e6d1276252789/

  12. agnophilo says:

    @ShamelesslyRed – My browser freezes up when I try to watch it.  Care to summarize?

  13. agnophilo says:

    @ShamelesslyRed – Okay, what is your point?  Multiple contrails mean they contain deadly chemicals?  That is a non-sequiter.  I already commented on this at length in my first response to you.

  14. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – Remember the sort of real life conspiracies, or vast systems of deceit, that have been set up and how they’ve operated. People with power and money like to keep those that may gain leverage on them in check with fear. Fear of being denied life, liberty, family, health, money, etc. 

  15. Mark, at one time there was a conspiracy labeled as nutty by people like you when people like me tried to warn that govt was carrying out secret experiments that killed many african americans. Or that the military was giving soldiers LSD w/o consent in an attempt to learn about mind control. These things actually happened but were classified, therefore few people knew. Those that did know and passed the info on were sticky noted with the words “conspiracy whacks”. If you start at the place to learn about something that already is biased in nature, then you will never learn about it in totality. NASA has already admitted to these. Although they say that it is a brand new program still on trial. That’s not true. I can give you many links. I can give you my own references of notes taken over the last 5 years of “contrails” that turn entire skies to haze in areas that commercial airliners rarely fly. I could go on and on, yet you don’t seem to be moved. you are not interested in truth –or at least it seems that way. Do your own research–More than it takes to write a one sided blog that doesn’t offer actual credible research on the matter. Our government doesn’t engage in classified experiments anymore do they Mark 

  16. taxie67 says:

    @striemmy – Media. Keep ’em dumb and numb..

  17. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – Yes, but fear is more a tool of power than a motive for it, thus the confusion.@ShamelesslyRed – So are the people who say the government is conspiring with aliens right too?  Because by your “any conspiracy theory seems nutty before it’s proven therefore my conspiracy theory is right” logic can be applied to any conspiracy theory.  The fact that the government has done bad things does not mean they are doing this particular bad thing.  And again, contrails in areas planes supposedly rarely fly does not establish that they are toxic fumes deployed by planes.  Evidence must directly support a conclusion.  I cannot prove you are guilty of a hit-and-run simply because you have a car and the front is dented – especially if I don’t have evidence the event even took place.

  18. saturnnights says:

    Here’s a gov’t website, explaining the uses of aerosol spraying from airplanes.  It’s a common practice. http://www.asp.bnl.gov/Here’s a link to an older post, beginning with photos I have taken myself.http://saturnnights.xanga.com/733478717/what-in-the-world-are-they-spraying/?page=1&jump=1520571437&leftcmt=1#1520571437

  19. agnophilo says:

    @saturnnights – Nowhere that I can find does it describe anything being sprayed from airplanes on that website, and the word “plane” or any of it’s variants does not appear once.  It uses the word aerosol many times (which just means anything liquid or solid suspended in a gas) which I assume you take to mean aerosol spray cans, but it’s clear if you click around that they are studying clouds and pollution, not spraying shit in the atmosphere.As far as the pictures go I’m absolutely astonished how every single person who subscribes to this conspiracy theory thinks showing me a picture of more than one contrail in one place somehow proves they contain toxic chemicals.  Wtf?

  20. bakersdozen2 says:

    Heard about this for the first time several weeks back…. All I can say is unbelievable 

  21. agnophilo says:

    @bakersdozen2 – Couple of people are defending it on this blog.  But yeah, I agree.

  22. saturnnights says:

    @bakersdozen2 – It’s been happening for years.

  23. saturnnights says:

    @agnophilo – “which I assume you take to mean aerosol spray cans” Really?  You assumed THAT?  I never mentioned aerosol spray cans at all.  Okay, this explains alot.Well, what can I say?  I could show you photos of spray rigs on jets, but there would be a reason you’d doubt that too.  You’ve already made up your mind, and mine would be wasted to discuss this with you.  There is much research into this however, on both sides of the issue.  It takes a willingness to look though, beyond preconceptions.  I didn’t believe it either, but that was before I looked at this phenomenon for the past five or six years.BTW, just because CNN showed video of a gusher under the surface of the gulf, that was no proof that it was oil.

  24. Hinase says:

    This is disturbing…

  25. agnophilo says:

    @saturnnights – I assumed you took it to mean aerosol spray cans (or equipment) because that is the only conceivable way you could have gotten “spraying aerosol from planes” from that website.  You just ignore the fact that your assertion about the website was bull and plow on as though nothing happened, in true conspiracy theorist form.  And calling me closed-minded because you don’t have evidence that actually supports your assertions – classy.That a rig to spray stuff from planes exists somewhere suggests that something has at some point been sprayed from a plane.  It does not support the claim that every plane with a long trail is spraying toxic chemicals.  I saw those pictures in my research – now let me ask you – why doesn’t every plane at the airport look like that?And before you call me closed-minded how about you try dealing with anything in this blog.

  26. Hinase says:

    @agnophilo – The whole conspiracy theory surrounding these chemtrail. I might have to research it a bit more. It’s made me interested.

  27. agnophilo says:

    @Hinase – Every airline in the world would have to be in on it, which automatically makes it ridiculous in my book.  Like you could get tons of competing corporations to all do something vastly unprofitable in unison flies in the face of the very nature of corporations.  And even if you could you couldn’t keep something that big a secret.  Now does that mean nobody’s ever dropped toxic shit out of a plane?  Of course not.  But on this scale it’s totally unbelievable.

  28. SerenaDante says:

    I always thought that was like waste coming out of the plane bathrooms. Guess I learned something new today!

  29. agnophilo says:

    @SerenaDante – That would be a lot of waste.  If a plane’s waste dump valve thing is leaky it can form a big ice chunk that can fall to the ground though, saw a mythbusters episode about it a few days ago.

  30. Long time! Thanks for the enlightenment. 

  31. I was reading this, thinking “this isn’t a conspiracy theory as much as it is just general ignorance.” Then I read the comment section. And wept.

  32. kk_grayfox says:

    Haha. I remember my sophomore year in high school, one of my fellow students wrote a paper about this. I sort of thought he was joking and completely forgot about it until I saw this post. The abundance of such outlandish conspiracy theories is quite mind-boggling.But hey, in the 60’s so many people swore they saw UFOs, and then it was later revealed that these really were UFOs. Except they weren’t aliens but rather experimental stealth and other aircraft that the US Air Force were testing. Then when people started reporting aliens and whatnot, the CIA intentionally made it look like they were trying to cover up these ‘visitors’ so the Soviets wouldn’t get wise to their experimental aircraft. My grandfather was a U2 pilot, and at one point was stationed at Area 51 and he’s still apparently not allowed to tell anybody about it. Maybe they were working on these chemtrail planes…lol.

  33. agnophilo says:

    @GodlessLiberal – Yeah.  I was surprised so many people actually argued for it.  And wasn’t surprised so much when they were impervious to logic and evidence.@kk_grayfox – I didn’t know that there was a base actually called area 51, lol.  But yeah, unidentified flying objects are just that – unidentified.  Hell the contrail the US media reported was an ICBM awhile ago was a “UFO”.  Until it was identified anyway.

  34. kk_grayfox says:

    @agnophilo – I was surprised when I heard it too. Actually, I think my dad told me it existed when I was a kid, and I think the first thing I thought was, “Oh my gosh! There really ARE aliens!!” Haha.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area_51

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