Оружие дождя

автор: Денис Песков

“The U.S. military made its first large-scale attempt to unleash rain as a weapon during the Vietnam War. Beginning with trials in 1966, and continuing every rainy season until July 1972, “Project Popeye” dropped nearly fifty thousand loads of silver iodide or lead iodide in the clouds over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to induce heavy rains. The idea was to flood out roads, cause landslides, and make transportation as difficult as possible well beyond monsoon season—essentially, to keep the Ho Chi Minh Trail a muddy mess and foil North Vietnam’s ability to move supplies and personnel.
Operating out of Udorn Royal Air Base in Thailand without knowledge of the governments of Thailand, Laos, or South Vietnam, the Fifty-Fourth Weather Reconnaissance Squadron flew 2,600 sorties that dispersed 47,409 cloud-seeding flares—a payload code-named “Olive Oil”—to make rain over the trail.

The results of Project Popeye have never been clear. Military scientists estimated rainfall increased between 15 and 30 percent over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. But was it the Weather Squadron’s chemicals, or capricious monsoons? Project Popeye’s final report claims “that judicious seeding of properly selected clouds resulted in remarkably increased cloud growth relative to the growth that would have occurred naturally.” Today, leading atmospheric scientists as well as the intrepid private meteorologists who make their living seeding clouds say that would have been utterly impossible to know four decades ago. Even today, it is not entirely knowable.”

Excerpt From: Barnett, Cynthia. “Rain.” Crown/Archetype