Science, and transportation united states senate

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95 2d affi" } COMMITTEE PRINT




Prepared at the Keqtiest of

Hon. Howard W. Cannon, Chairman




Printed for the use of the

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation



2d Session J




Prepared at the Request of

Hox. Howard W. Cannon, Chairman




MAY 1978

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

U.S. government printing office

34-857 WASHINGTON : 1978


HOWARD W. CANNON, Nevada, Chairman


RUSSELL B. LONG, Louisiana

ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina




JOHN A. DURKIN, New Hampshire


DONALD W. RIEGLE, Jr., Michigan

Aubrey L. Sarvis, Staff Director and Chief Counsel

Edwin K. Hall, General Counsel

Malcolm M. B. Sterrett, Minority Staff Director









U.S. Senate,

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,

November 15, 1978.

To the members of the Committee on Commerce. Science, and

Transportation, U.S. Senate:

I am pleased to transmit herewith for your information and use the

following report on "Weather Modification: Programs, Problems,

Policy, and Potential."

The report was prepared at my request by the Congressional Re-

search Service under the direction of Dr. Robert Morrison, Specialist

in Earth Sciences, Science Policy Research Division. We thank Dr.

Morrison and the others involved in the study for their extremely

thorough and scholarly report. Substantial material on almost all

areas of weather modification are included and the report will provide

the committee with an excellent reference source for future delibera-

tions on the subject.

The completion of the report is particularly timely due to the up-

coming recommendations expected from the Weather Modification

Advisory Board and the Department of Commerce (as directed by

Public Law 94-490) on the future Federal role in weather


James B. Pearson,

Ranking minority member.



U.S. Senate,

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,

Washington, D.C., July 30, 1976.

Dr. Norman A. Beckman,

Acting Director, Congressional Research Service,

Library of Congress, W ashington, D.C.

Dear Dr. Beckman: Weather modification, although a relatively

young science, has over the years stimulated great interest within the

scientific, commercial, governmental, and agricultural communities.

Such responses are readily understandable. Weather-related disasters

and hazards affect virtually all Americans and annually cause untold

human suffering and loss of life and result in billions of dollars of eco-

nomic loss to crops and other property. While weather modification

projects have been operational for nearly 25 years and have been

shown to have significant potential for preventing, diverting, moderat-

ing, or ameliorating the adverse effects of such weather related disas-

ters and hazards, I am greatly concerned regarding the lack of a

coordinated Federal weather modification policy and a coordinated

and comprehensive program for weather modification research and

development. This fact is all the more disturbing in view of the mani-

fest needs, and benefits, social and economic, that can be associated with

weather modification activities. These deficiencies in our Federal orga-

nizational structure have resulted in a less than optimal return on our

investments in weather modification activities and a failure, with few

exceptions, to recognize that much additional research and develop-

ment needs to be carried out before weather modification becomes a

truly operational tool.

Reports and studies conducted by such diverse organizations as the

National Academy of Sciences, the National Advisory Committee on

Oceans and Atmosphere, the General Accounting Office, and the

Domestic Council have highlighted the lack of a comprehensive Federal

weather modification policy and research and development program.

Hearings that I chaired in February of this year reinforced my con-

cerns regarding the wisdom of our continued failure to implement a

national policy on this very important issue.

I am therefore requesting the Congressional Research Service to

prepare a comprehensive report on weather modification. This report

should include a review of the history and existing status of weather

modification knowledge and technology; the legislative history of

existing and proposed domestic legislation concerning weather mod-

ification; socio-economic and legal problems presented by weather

modification activities; a review and analysis of the existing local,

State, Federal, and international weather modification organizational



structure: international implications of weather modification activi-

ties: and a review and discussion of alternative U.S. and international

weather modification policies and research and development programs.

If you have any questions with respect to this request, please contact

Mr. Gerry J. Kovach, Minority Staff Counsel of the Senate Commerce

Committee. He has discussed this study with Mr. Robert E. Morrison

and Mr. John Justus of the Science Policy Division, Congressional

Research Service.

Very truly yours,

James B. Pearsox,

U.S. Senator.


The Library of Congress,

congressional research service,

Washington, D.C., June 19, 1978.

Hon. James B. Pearson,

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,

U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

Dear Senator Pearson: The enclosed report, entitled "Weather

Modification: Programs, Problems, Policy, and Potential," has been

prepared by the Congressional Research Service in response to your


The study reviews the history, technology, activities, and a number

of special aspects of the field of weather modification. Activities

discussed are those of the Federal, State, and local governments, of

private organizations, and of foreign nations. Consideration is given

to international, legal, economic, and ecological aspects. There are

also an introductory chapter which includes a summary of issues, a

chapter discussing inadvertent weather and climate modification, and

a chapter summarizing recommendations from major Federal policy


The study has been coordinated by Dr. Robert E. Morrison, Special-

ist in Earth Sciences, Science Policy Research Division, who also

prepared chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9 as well as the Summary and

Conclusions. Mr. John R. Justus, Analyst in Earth Sciences, and

Dr. James E. Mielke, Analyst in Marine and Earth Sciences, both

of the Science Policy Research Division, contributed chapters 4 and

6, respectively. Chapter 10 was prepared by Mrs. Lois B. McHugh,

Foreign Affairs Analyst, Foreign Affairs and National Defense Di-

vision. Chapter 11 was written jointly by Mrs. Nancy Lee Jones,

Legislative Attorney, and Mr. Daniel Hill Zaf ren, Specialist in Ameri-

can Public Law, both of the American Law Division. Dr. Warren

Viessman, Jr., Senior Specialist in Engineering and Public Works,

contributed chapter 12; and Mr. William C. JolW, Analyst in En-

vironmental Policy, Environment and Natural Resources Division,

was responsible for chapter 13. In addition, appendixes C, F, Q, and R

were assembled by Mrs. McHugh ; appendixes D and S were prepared

by Mrs. Jones; and information in the remaining appendixes was

collected by Dr. Morrison.

I trust that this report will serve the needs of the Committee on

Commerce, Science, and Transportation as well as those of other

committees and individual Members of Congress who are concerned

with weather modification. On behalf of the Congressional Research

Service, I wish to express my appreciation for the opportunity to

undertake this timely and worthwhile assignment.


Gilbert Gtjde,



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2013



Letter of transmittal in

Letter requesting study v

Letter of submittal vn

Summary and conclusions xix

Chapter 1

Introduction and summary of issues 1

Perspective 1

Situation 1

Advantages 3

Timeliness 5

Definitions and scope of report 7

Summary of issues in planned weather modification 9

Technological problems and issues 9

Governmental issues 12

The role of the Federal Government 12

Roles of State and local governments 14

Legal issues 15

Private rights in the clouds 15

Liability for weather modification 16

Interstate legal issues 17

International legal issues 17

Economic issues 18

Issues complicating economic analyses of weather modifica-

tion 18

Weather modification and conflicting interests 19

Social issues 19

Social factors 20

Need for public education on weather modification 21

Decisionmaking 22

International issues 23

Ecological issues 24

Chapter 2

History of weather modification 25

Introduction 25

History of weather modification prior to 1946 26

Prescientific period 26

Early scientific period 27

Development of scientific fundamentals 32

Early cloud-seeding experiments 34

Weather modification since 1946 35

Chronology 35

Langmuir, Schaefer, and Vonnegut 37

Research projects since 1947 39

Project Cirrus 39

The Weather Bureau cloud phvsics project 41

The U.S. experiments of 1953-54 42

Arizona Mountain cumulus experiments 44

Project Whitetop 44

Climax experiments 45

Lightning suppression experiments 46

Fog dispersal research 46

Hurricane modification. 46

Hail suppression 46

Foreign weather modification research 47

Commercial operations 48

History of Federal activities, committees, policy studies, and

reports 53



Chapter 3


Technology of planned weather modification 55

Introduction 55

Assessment of the status of weather modification technology 56

Classification of weather modification technologies 61

Principles and status of weather modification technologies 62

Precipitation augmentation 64

Cumulus clouds 66

Cumulus modification experiments 67

Effectiveness of precipitation enhancement research and

operations 69

Results achieved through cumulus modification 70

Recent advances in cumulus cloud modification 71

Orographic clouds and precipitation 71

Orographic precipitation modification 75

Orographic seeding experiments and seedability criteria 77

Operational orographic seeding projects 81

Results achieved through orographic precipitation modifi-

cation 82

Hail suppression 84

The hail problem 84

Modification of hail 86

Hail seeding technologies 87

Evaluation of hail suppression technology 88

Surveys of hail suppression effectiveness 89

Conclusions from the TASH study 91

Dissipation of fog and stratus clouds 92

Cold fog modification 93

Warm fog modification 93

Lightning suppression 96

Lightning modification 98

Evaluation of lightning suppression technology 99

Modification of severe storms 101

Hurricanes 101

Generation and characteristics of hurricanes 104

Modification of hurricanes 108

Tornadoes 112

Modification of tornadoes 113

Technical problem areas in planned weather modification 115

Seeding technology 115

Evaluation of weather modification projects 118

Extended area effects of weather modification 124

Approaches to weather modification other than seeding 129

Research needs for the development of planned weather modification- 131

General considerations 131

Recommendations from the 1973 National Academv of Sciences

study i 134

Recommendations of the Advanced Planning Group of NOAA__. 136

Summary of Federal research needs expressed by State officials. 138

Research recommendations of the AMS Committee on Weather

Modification 139

Research recommendations related to extended area and time

effects 143

Chapter 4

Inadvertent weather and climate modification 145

Introduction 145

Terminology 145

Climate 145

Climatic fluctuation and climatic change 146

Weather 146

Weather modification 146

Climate modification 146

Planned climate modification 147

Inadvertent climate modification 148



Background 149

Historical perspective 149

Understanding the causes of climatic change and variability 151

The concept of climatic change and variability 152

When and how do climatic changes occur 154

The facts about inadvertent weather and climate modification 156

Airborne particulate matter and atmospheric turbidity 156

Do more particles mean a warming or cooling? 157

Sources of atmospheric particulates: Natural vs. manmade.. 158

Atmospheric processes affected by particulates 159

The La Porte weather anomaly: Urban climate modification. 162

Carbon dioxide and water vapor 164

Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration:

What the record indicates 164

Predicting future atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 166

Sources and sinks for carbon dioxide 168

Atmospheric effects of increased carbon dioxide levels 169

Implications of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide con-

centrations 169

Implications of a climatic warming 170

Carbon dioxide and future climate: The real climate vs.

"model climate" 171

Ozone depletion 172

Concerns regarding ozone destruction 172

Action by the Government on the regulation of fluorocar-

bons 175

Climatic effects of ozone depletion 176

Waste heat 177

The urban "Heat Island" 177

Albedo 179

Large-scale irrigation 180

Recapitulation 181

Issues in inadvertent weather and climate modification 184

Climatic barriers to long-term energy growth 184

Thoughts and reflections — Can we contemplate a fossil-fuel-free

world? 185

Research needs and deficiencies 186

Chapter 5

Federal activities in weather modification 193

Overview of Federal activities..-- '— — 193

Legislative and congressional activities 194

Federal legislation on weather modification 194

Summary 194

The Advisory Committee on Weather Control 195

Direction to the National Science Foundation 196

Reporting of weather modification activities to the Federal

Government 197

The National Weather Modification Policy Act of 1976 198

Congressional direction to the Bureau of Reclamation 201

Proposed Federal legislation on weather modification 203

Summary 203

Legislation proposed in the 94th Congress and the 95th

Congress, 1st sessions 205

Other congressional activities 207

Resolutions on weather modification 207

Hearings 208

Studies and reports by congressional support agencies 209

Activities of the executive branch 209

Introduction 209

Institutional structure of the Federal weather modification

program 210

Current status of Federal organization for weather modifica-

tion 210



Federal structure; 1946-57 214

Federal structure; 1958-68 215

Federal structure; 1968-77 216

Future Federal organization for weather modification 216

Coordination and advisory mechanisms for Federal weather

modification programs 221

Introduction 221

The Interdepartmental Committee for Atmospheric Sciences

(ICAS) 222

The National Academv of Sciences/Committee on At-

mospheric Sciences (N AS/CAS) 226

The National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmos-

phere (NACOA) 227

Other coordination and advisory mechanisms 228

Weather Modification Advisory Board 231

Weather modification activities reporting program 232

Background and regulations 232

Reporting of Federal activities 233

Summary reports on U.S. weather modification activities 233

Federal studies and reports on weather modification 234

Introduction 234

Studies of the early 1950's 235

Advisory Committee on Weather Control 236

National Academy of Sciences studies 237

Studies bv the Interdepartmental Committee for Atmos-

pheric Sciences (ICAS) 238

Domestic Council study 239

Policy and planning reports produced by Federal agencies 239

Federal programs in weather modification 241

Introduction and funding summaries 241

Department of the Interior 246

Introduction 246

Project Skywater; general discussion 247

The Colorado River Basin Pilot Project (CRBPP) 254

The High Plains Cooperative Program (HIPLFX) 258

The Sierra Cooperative Pilot Project (SCPP) 263

Drought mitigation assistance 266

National Science Foundation 267

Introduction and general 267

Weather hazard mitigation 274

Weather modification technology development 282

Inadvertent weather modification 283

Societal utilization activities 287

Agricultural weather modification 288

Department of Commerce 290

Introduction and general discussion 290

The Florida Area Cumulus Experiment (FACE) 292

Project Stormfurv 296

Research Facilities Center (RFC) 300

Global Monitoring for Climatic Change (GMCC) 301

Lightning suppression 302

Modification of extratropical severe storms 302

Department of Defense 303

Introduction 303

Air Force fog dispersal operations 303

Army research and development 304

Navy research and development 304

Air Force research and development 305

Overseas operations 307

Department of Transportation 308

Department of Agriculture 309

Department of Energy 310


Chapter 6

Review of recommendations for a national program in weather modifica- Page

tion 313

Introduction ^Jy

Summaries of major weather modification reports 314

Final report of the Advisory Committee on Weather Control — 314

Weather and climate modification: Report of the Special Com-

mission on Weather Modification 315

Weather and climate modification: Problems and prospects 317

A recommended national program in weather modification 318

A national program for accelerating progress in weather modifica-

tion 320

Weather and climate modification: Problems and progress 321

Annual reports to the President and Congress by NACOA 323

Need for a national weather modification research program 324

The Federal role in weather modification 325

Trends and analysis 326

Chapter 7

State and local activities in weather modification 331

Overview of State weather modification activities 331

Introduction 331

North American Interstate Weather Modification Council 333

Survey and summary of State interests and activities in weather

modification 340

State contacts for information on weather modification activities. 343

Non-Federal U.S. weather modification activities 343

Analysis of calendar year 1975 projects 344

Preliminary analysis of projects for calendar years 1976-77_ 347

General discussion of local and regional weather modification policy

activities „ 348

Weather modification activities within particular States 351

California 352

State weather modification law and regulations 352

Weather modification projects 353

State-sponsored emergency projects 356

Illinois 358

Illinois weather modification law and its administration 358

Operational projects 359

Research activities 360

Kansas 361

Kansas Weather Modification Act 361

Research activities 362

Operational activities 364

Emergenc}- Drought Act of 1977 364

North Dakota 365

Weather modification law and administration of regulations- 365

Authority and organization for local projects 370

North Dakota operational projects in 1975 and 1976 371

South Dakota 376

Utah 381

Washington 382

Chapter 8

Private activities in weather modification 385

Introduction 385

Commercial weather modifiers 386

Scope and significance of contract activities 386

Summary of contract services 386

Evaluation and research by commercial firms 388

Participation in Federal research programs 389

Weather modification organizations 389

Professional organizations 389

Weather Modification Association 390

American Meteorological Society 395



Opposition to weather modification 399

General discussion 399

Opposition to the seeding project above Hungry Horse Dam. 399

Tri-State Natural Weather Association 400

Citizens for the Preservation of Natural Resources 402

Chapter 9

Foreign'activities in weather modification 405

Introduction 405

World Meteorological Organization register of weather modification

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