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Make It RainState Control of the Atmosphere in Twentieth-Century America$
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Kristine C. Harper

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226437231

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226437378.001.0001

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Weather Control as State Tool on Military and Diplomatic Fronts

Weather Control as State Tool on Military and Diplomatic Fronts

(p.201) Chapter 7 Weather Control as State Tool on Military and Diplomatic Fronts
Make It Rain

Kristine C. Harper

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines classified weather control techniques used for diplomatic and military purposes. The pyrotechnic delivery methods used in Project Stormfury had classified equivalents scheduled for use in the Vietnam War. However, the US Department of Defense wanted to try them in other parts of the world as well, and the devastating mid-1960s Bihar drought in India provided the opportunity to do so. Dubbed Project GROMET, US civilians flew unmarked planes in a mostly failed attempt to encourage pre-summer monsoon clouds to rain on the parched earth. But as the monsoon clouds appeared, the program was shut down to keep from inadvertently exposing the use of this same technology in Laos as a weapon of war in Project Popeye (the experimental phase) and Project Compatriot (the operational phase). During the Vietnam War, cloud seeding was used to wash out the Ho Chi Minh trail, disrupting the movement of men and materiel into South Vietnam, and North Vietnamese military emplacements. This chapter examines what members of the Lyndon Baines Johnson administration were thinking when they ordered the execution of these projects, and how that jibed with domestic programs to keep the home front strong.

Keywords:   classified weather control, pyrotechnics, Project Stormfury, Vietnam War, India, Project GROMET, Project Popeye, Project Compatriot, Lyndon Baines Johnson

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