Obscurious – Weather Modification

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead.” ~ Einstein

obscurious.4The US Government has Attempted to Control Weather for Military Purposes

Operation Popeye was a confidential government initiative that took place in Vietnam from 1967–1972. The operation was the first weather modification endeavor involving the experimental process of cloud seeding. These efforts were revealed in the Pentagon Papers.

The purpose of Operation Popeye was to induce rain in order to extend the monsoon season in support of military efforts during the Vietnam war. The weather modification project involved the complicated process of cloud seeding, which involved the firing of iodide seed crystals into clouds. During warfare, the precipitation creates mud to slow the enemy’s ability to use roads. The operation resulted in an extension of the monsoon period by an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down enemy traffic, it was considered successful – although, consequential flooding of the Song Con River is blamed for the move of POWs from the prison camp at Son Tay and the failure of Operation Ivory Coast.


“The Defense Department freely reports that it has field capacities for making rain. It used them in the Philippines in 1969, in a six-month precipitation augmentation project at the Philippines request; in India in 1967, at a similar invitation; over Okinawa and Midway Islands, and in June, July and August, 1971, over drought-stricken Texas, at the urgent request of Gov. Preston Smith.” ~ Washington Post, 1972

Kurt Vonnegut, Ice-Nine & Operation Popeye

In 1963, Kurt Vonnegut’s fourth novel Cat’s Cradle was published. Vonnegut wrote about a strange and deadly material called ice-nine. The fictitious material was developed to solve one of the military’s most resilient obstacles – mud. In the story, the compound is invented by Dr. Felix Hoenikker and has the power to crystallize water, including mud. When ice-nine comes into contact with water below 45.8 °C, it acts as a seed crystal and causes the solidification of the entire body of water. Since people are made up mostly of water, ice-nine kills almost instantly and becomes an unstoppable, catastrophic force.

Interestingly, ice-nine is connected to the weather modification process and alluded to his brother’s research. Bernard Vonnegut worked for the General Electric research company and is known for discovering the silver iodide compound used to seed clouds in wartime.

After World War II, Kurt Vonnegut worked in the public relations department for the General Electric research company, where he also worked with his older brother, Bernard. His job was to interview scientists about their research. One of those scientists was the chemist Irving Langmuir, who ultimately became the model for Dr. Felix Hoenikker.


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