Summer has been rubbish – but the government isn’t controlling the weather

Plane contrails have fuelled online conspiracy theories (Picture: Getty)

Let’s face it, June was pretty rubbish – weather-wise. Temperatures were below average, rainfall was higher than average in some places, and it felt as if the whole country was trapped under an immovable blanket of grey cloud.

Even the solitary week of sun as the month ended didn’t last, with July starting just as hit and miss.

Such is life in the UK, you might think. 

Or, you might argue there’s a more sinister reason.

Weather manipulation. For many, this is the altering of weather by governments or other secretive organisations, seemingly with the intent of controlling the population.

On social media it is a regular topic of concern, including in recent days following the Met Office’s dismal June summary. 

Many posts include images of contrails left by planes, which people argue are caused by chemicals sprayed into the atmosphere, in some cases designed to fan out and create the cloud that plagued us all last month.

Many argue that contrails contain chemicals designed to change the weather, or control the population (Picture: Getty)

Often referred to as ‘chemtrails’, they are also believed to be used by governments for even more nefarious purposes, including sterilisation, mind control and reducing life expectancy. 

Except they aren’t. 

Contrails are the result of exhaust fumes cooling and condensing to leave a trail of fluffy vapour. This only happens under certain conditions, hence why they don’t appear behind every plane.

Even a change in altitude of a few hundred metres can make the difference in conditions, explaining why if two planes appear to be at the same height from the ground, only one may produce contrails.

They also do look similar to naturally-forming cirrus clouds.

But does weather manipulation happen?

Yes, it does.

Cloud seeding is a well-established technique to help existing clouds to produce more rain, developed in the 1940s by US chemist Vincent Schaefer. It may be used in agriculture, to help water crops, or as a preventative measure, such as when China used it to keep rain clouds at bay during the 2008 Olympic opening cermeony.

The UK itself experimented with cloud seeding in the 1950s.

It remains a controversial practice, and debate continues over how effective it is – but one thing for sure is that it doesn’t spread far.

One week of sunshine didn’t make up for a dismal June (Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Getty)

Meteorologist Jim Dale, founder of British Weather Services, says: ‘The seeding of clouds is a very localised technique. People blamed the Dubai floods [earlier this year] on it, but they weren’t anything to do with that.

‘It’s used by conspiracy theorists as a way of saying governments are manipulating the weather, not just cloud seeding but clandestine things, perhaps for military exercises.’

That isn’t to say humans aren’t changing the climate however, just not intentionally.

‘Manipulation is occurring because of climate change and all the fossil fuels put into the atmosphere,’ says Jim. ‘That is manipulation on a grand scale.’

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Some argued June’s cool weather was proof that global warming wasn’t happening, but climate change won’t simply result in everywhere getting hotter. Many parts will be wetter, because for every degree Celsius the atmosphere warms, it can hold 7% more water vapour.

A warmer atmosphere will also result in more powerful storms – carrying more rain – such as this week’s Hurricane Beryl, the earliest Category 4 storm over the Atlantic ever recorded that has left a trail of devastation across the Caribbean.  

Yet while attempts to undermine climate science and clean energy continue, the idea that governments are behind weird weather across the globe is one that won’t go away.

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Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that geoengineering, another term for cloud seeding, is a major field of exploration in the fight against climate change, including the removal of carbon from the atmosphere, or the blocking of sunlight to reduce its warming effect. 

There could be unintended consequences, and concerns over its use are legitimate, but the goal is still very much to save humanity, not wield Earth’s awesome power to enslave it.

‘We can’t control the weather in that respect,’ says Jim. ‘We’re not good enough, technically, to control the highs and lows [in pressure].’

Let’s be honest. Sunshine is good for the economy. If the government was in charge of the weather, would it have programmed such a rubbish June, slap bang in the middle of an election campaign?

And if Rishi had any control, he surely wouldn’t have announced the big vote while getting absolutely drenched.

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