WEATHER WEAPON TECHNOLOGY
2025 - Weather As A Force Multiplier: Owning The Weather
From Ross Dowe <email@example.com>
- A Research Paper Presented To Air Force 2025
- Col Tamzy J. House
- Lt Col James B. Near, Jr.
- LTC William B. Shields (USA)
- Maj Ronald J. Celentano
- Maj David M. Husband
- Maj Ann E. Mercer
- Maj James E. Pugh
- August 1996
- 2025 is a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of
staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts, capabilities, and
technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and
space force in the future. Presented on 17 June 1996, this report was
produced in the Department of Defense school environment of academic freedom
and in the interest of advancing concepts related to national defense. The
views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not reflect
the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department
of Defense, or the United States government.
- This report contains fictional representations of future
situations/scenarios. Any similarities to real people or events, other than
those specifically cited, are unintentional and are for purposes of
- This publication has been reviewed by security and policy review
authorities, is unclassified, and is cleared for public release.
- Executive Summary
- 1. Introduction2. 3. Required Capability4.
- * Why Would We Want to Mess with the Weather?
- * What Do We Mean by "Weather-modification"?5. System Description6.
- * The Global Weather Network
- * Applying Weather-modification to Military Operations7.Concept of
- * Precipitation
- * Fog
- * Storms
- * Exploitation of "NearSpace" for Space Control
- * Opportunities Afforded by Space Weather-modification
- * Communications Dominance via Ionospheric Modification
- * Artificial Weather
- * Concept of Operations Summary9. Investigation Recommendations10.
- * How Do We Get There From Here?
- * Conclusions
- A Why Is the Ionosphere Important?
- B Research to Better Understand and Predict Ionospheric Effects
- C Acronyms and Definitions
- 3-1. Global Weather Network
- 3-2. The Military System for Weather-Modification Operations
- 4-1. Crossed-Beam Approach for Generating an Artificial Ionospheric
- 4-2. Artificial Ionospheric Mirrors Point-to-Point Communications
- 4-3. Artificial Ionospheric Mirror Over-the-Horizon Surveillance Concept
- 4-4. Scenarios for Telecommunications Degradation
- 5-1. A Core Competency Road Map to Weather Modification in 2025
- 5-2. A Systems Development Road Map to Weather Modification in 2025
- Table 1 - Operational Capabilities Matrix
- We express our appreciation to Mr Mike McKim of Air War College who
provided a wealth of technical expertise and innovative ideas that
significantly contributed to our paper. We are also especially grateful for
the devoted support of our families during this research project. Their
understanding and patience during the demanding research period were crucial
to the project's success.
- Executive Summary
- In 2025, US aerospace forces can "own the weather" by capitalizing on
emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to
war-fighting applications. Such a capability offers the war fighter tools to
shape the battlespace in ways never before possible. It provides
opportunities to impact operations across the full spectrum of conflict and
is pertinent to all possible futures. The purpose of this paper is to
outline a strategy for the use of a future weather-modification system to
achieve military objectives rather than to provide a detailed technical road
- A high-risk, high-reward endeavor, weather-modification offers a dilemma
not unlike the splitting of the atom. While some segments of society will
always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as
weather-modification, the tremendous military capabilities that could result
from this field are ignored at our own peril. From enhancing friendly
operations or disrupting those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of
natural weather patterns to complete dominance of global communications and
counterspace control, weather-modification offers the war fighter a
wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary. Some of the
potential capabilities a weather-modification system could provide to a
war-fighting commander in chief (CINC) are listed in table 1.
- Technology advancements in five major areas are necessary for an
integrated weather-modification capability: (1) advanced nonlinear modeling
techniques, (2) computational capability, (3) information gathering and
transmission, (4) a global sensor array, and (5) weather intervention
techniques. Some intervention tools exist today and others may be developed
and refined in the future.
- Table 1 - Operational Capabilities Matrix
- DEGRADE ENEMY FORCES ENHANCE FRIENDLY FORCES Precipitation
EnhancementPrecipitation Avoidance - Flood Lines of Communication-
Maintain/Improve LOC - Reduce PGM/Recce Effectiveness- Maintain Visibility -
Decrease Comfort Level/Morale- Maintain Comfort Level/Morale Storm
EnhancementStorm Modification - Deny Operations- Choose Battlespace
Environment Precipitation DenialSpace Weather - Deny Fresh Water- Improve
Communication Reliability -- Induce Drought- Intercept Enemy Transmissions
Space Weather- Revitalize Space Assets - Disrupt Communications/RadarFog and
Cloud Generation - Disable/Destroy Space Assets- Increase Concealment Fog
and Cloud RemovalFog and Cloud Removal - Deny Concealment- Maintain Airfield
Operations - Increase Vulnerability to PGM/Recce- Enhance PGM Effectiveness
Detect Hostile Weather ActivitiesDefend against Enemy Capabilities
- Current technologies that will mature over the next 30 years will offer
anyone who has the necessary resources the ability to modify weather
patterns and their corresponding effects, at least on the local scale.
Current demographic, economic, and environmental trends will create global
stresses that provide the impetus necessary for many countries or groups to
turn this weather-modification ability into a capability.
- In the United States, weather-modification will likely become a part of
national security policy with both domestic and international applications.
Our government will pursue such a policy, depending on its interests, at
various levels. These levels could include unilateral actions, participation
in a security framework such as NATO, membership in an international
organization such as the UN, or participation in a coalition. Assuming that
in 2025 our national security strategy includes weather-modification, its
use in our national military strategy will naturally follow. Besides the
significant benefits an operational capability would provide, another
motivation to pursue weather-modification is to deter and counter potential
- In this paper we show that appropriate application of
weather-modification can provide battlespace dominance to a degree never
before imagined. In the future, such operations will enhance air and space
superiority and provide new options for battlespace shaping and battlespace
awareness.<v3c15-7.htm#11 "The technology is there, waiting for us to pull
it all together;"<v3c15-7.htm#22 in 2025 we can "Own the Weather."
- Chapter 1 Introduction
- Scenario: Imagine that in 2025 the US is fighting a rich, but now
consolidated, politically powerful drug cartel in South America. The cartel
has purchased hundreds of Russian-and Chinese-built fighters that have
successfully thwarted our attempts to attack their production facilities.
With their local numerical superiority and interior lines, the cartel is
launching more than 10 aircraft for every one of ours. In addition, the
cartel is using the French system probatoire d' observation de la terre
(SPOT) positioning and tracking imagery systems, which in 2025 are capable
of transmitting near-real-time, multispectral imagery with 1 meter
resolution. The US wishes to engage the enemy on an uneven playing field in
order to exploit the full potential of our aircraft and munitions.
- Meteorological analysis reveals that equatorial South America typically
has afternoon thunderstorms on a daily basis throughout the year. Our
intelligence has confirmed that cartel pilots are reluctant to fly in or
near thunderstorms. Therefore, our weather force support element (WFSE),
which is a part of the commander in chief's (CINC) air operations center
(AOC), is tasked to forecast storm paths and trigger or intensify
thunderstorm cells over critical target areas that the enemy must defend
with their aircraft. Since our aircraft in 2025 have all-weather capability,
the thunderstorm threat is minimal to our forces, and we can effectively and
decisively control the sky over the target.
- The WFSE has the necessary sensor and communication capabilities to
observe, detect, and act on weather-modification requirements to support US
military objectives. These capabilities are part of an advanced battle area
system that supports the war-fighting CINC. In our scenario, the CINC tasks
the WFSE to conduct storm intensification and concealment operations. The
WFSE models the atmospheric conditions to forecast, with 90 percent
confidence, the likelihood of successful modification using airborne cloud
generation and seeding.
- In 2025, uninhabited aerospace vehicles (UAV) are routinely used for
weather-modification operations. By cross-referencing desired attack times
with wind and thunderstorm forecasts and the SPOT satellite's projected
orbit, the WFSE generates mission profiles for each UAV. The WFSE guides
each UAV using near-real-time information from a networked sensor array.
- Prior to the attack, which is coordinated with forecasted weather
conditions, the UAVs begin cloud generation and seeding operations. UAVs
disperse a cirrus shield to deny enemy visual and infrared (IR)
surveillance. Simultaneously, microwave heaters create localized
scintillation to disrupt active sensing via synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
systems such as the commercially available Canadian search and rescue
satellite-aided tracking (SARSAT) that will be widely available in 2025.
Other cloud seeding operations cause a developing thunderstorm to intensify
over the target, severely limiting the enemy's capability to defend. The
WFSE monitors the entire operation in real-time and notes the successful
completion of another very important but routine weather-modification
- This scenario may seem far-fetched, but by 2025 it is within the realm
of possibility. The next chapter explores the reasons for
weather-modification, defines the scope, and examines trends that will make
it possible in the next 30 years.
- Last updated: 11 December 1996