Trump Wondered Aloud Whether China Used Hurricane-Causing Weather Weapon Against US: Report

© AP Photo / Evan VucciPresident Donald Trump holds a chart as he talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House
President Donald Trump holds a chart as he talks with reporters after receiving a briefing on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.05.2022
Donald Trump’s reported fascination with weather weapons was first recounted by Axios in 2019, with the outlet saying the then-president had repeatedly discussed the possibility of using nuclear weapons against hurricanes to prevent them from reaching the United States. Trump dismissed that story as “ridiculous” “fake news.”
Former president Donald Trump repeatedly asked officials whether it was possible that China was hurling deadly hurricanes at the United States using a ‘hurricane gun,’ and if the US had legal recourse to retaliate militarily, two former senior administration officials told the Rolling Stone.
“It was almost too stupid for words. I did not get the sense he was joking at all,” one of the officials, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
“I was presence [once] when he asked if China ‘made’ hurricanes to send to us,” the other official said. The president “wanted to know if the technology existed. One guy in the room responded, ‘Not to the best of my knowledge, sir’…He was asking about it around the time, maybe a little before, he asked people about nuking hurricanes,” the official added.
Trump was said to have inquired about the matter repeatedly in 2017, and repeated it until at least 2018 before eventually starting to make jokes about the idea.
Trump has yet to comment on the report, but dismissed the 2019 Axios report claiming he discussed nuking hurricanes, insisting he “never said this.”
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump make their way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on October 15, 2018. - Trump is heading to Florida after Hurricane Michael devastated the state.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.08.2019
Trump Denies Report Claiming He Floated Idea of Nuking Hurricanes Amid Social Media Storm
The Rolling Stone characterized the former president’s reported questions as a “patently boneheaded line of inquiry,” and just “one instance in an administration overflowing with Trump’s rampantly absurd, conspiracy-theory-powered ideas and policy proposals.”
Weather Weapons
However, the concept of weather weapons and military countermeasures to cause or end storms is not merely the stuff of science fiction and whacky video games like Red Alert, but an actual science going back to the mid-20th century.
In 1947, for example, the US military teamed up with defence and consumer goods giant General Electric to try to tame hurricanes via ‘Project Cirrus’ – an experiment involving the dropping of dry ice into a hurricane’s eyewall, causing it to release heat and lose intensity. The project was cancelled amid fears of lawsuits after a Navy plane dropped about 180 pounds of dry ice into a hurricane off the US East Coast, with the hurricane subsequently making landfall in Georgia and causing $300 million in damage. Scientists later determined that atmospheric winds, not the dry ice, caused the course change.
Photograph of Hurricane Dorian made by astronaut Nick Hague aboard the International Space Station on 2 September 2019 - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.11.2019
Weathering the Weather: How the US Gave Up on Trying to Tame Hurricanes
A new line of inquiry was pursued by President Dwight Eisenhower in the mid-1950s, with the White House forming a special committee investigating storm modification technologies after particularly hurricane-heavy years in 1954 and 1955.
In the early 1960s, the Pentagon and the US Weather Bureau began new experiments involving the use of silver iodine to control hurricanes – with the chemical dropped on Hurricane Esther in 1961. The research, which would go on to be dubbed ‘Project Stormfury’, would continue until the early 1980s with inconclusive results.
Between 1967-1972, the US also dropped some 12 million pounds of silver and lead iodide on storm clouds in Southeast Asia to try to prolong the monsoon season during the War in Vietnam. These actions would be deemed illegal under the Environmental Modification Convention of 1977.
Although the US federal government and military have dropped their hurricane-related experiments (at least those known about by the public), private companies have continued to research the idea of taming the deadly storms. In the 2000s, Seattle-based company Intellectual Ventures announced the development of a hurricane suppression technique known as ‘Salter Sink’ – involving the use of a network of massive pumps powered by ocean waves to push hot water down to cool it to weaken a hurricane.
The USSR, Russia and the People’s Republic of China have also experimented with weather control technologies, particularly cloud seeding to encourage or prevent rain.
In 2020, China announced plans to expand its weather modification capabilities to allow Beijing to control precipitation across an area equivalent to a whopping 5.5 million square km using “breakthroughs in fundamental research and R&D in key technologies.” China hopes to modify weather to prevent droughts and hail storms, assist agricultural production, help put out forest fires, and encourage in ecological protection and restoration. Today, China and Russia dump silver iodide onto clouds using aircraft and specially purposed artillery shells to enhance precipitation. The PRC showed off its cloud-seeding prowess in 2008, when the technology was used to ensure clear, rain-free skies for two straight weeks during the Summer Olympics.
A rocket launcher used to seed clouds to induce rain is seen at a station of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau in Beijing, China, Thursday, 19 July 2007. - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2020
Science & Tech
Chinese Weather Control Weapons: Fact or Fiction?
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