New scientific data claiming to prove once and for all that “chemtrails” left in the sky by commercial jetliners are mere water vapor is not convincing those who believe something more nefarious is at work in the skies overhead.

Nearly 17 percent of people in an international survey said they believed the existence of a secret government program to spray harmful contaminants into the atmosphere from airplanes. They call them “chemtrails” or ‘”covert geoengineering,” and many websites show purported evidence of widespread chemical spraying linked to harmful impacts on human health and the environment.

The charges led to the first peer-reviewed study published on the subject, and a panel of 77 scientists found they are not the result of governments covertly conducting experiments on the public, WND reported earlier this week.

They’re just plain old water vapor, according to the scientists.

Rather than “chemtrails,” say the researchers, they are actually “contrails,” which is short for condensation that produces water vapor that freezes around aerosols in the aircraft exhaust.

Read the whole peer-reviewed scientific report on “contrails.”

The scientists said they didn’t expect their research to convince the “diehards” who believe in government “conspiracies” but rather sought to provide data for those who hadn’t formed an opinion on the issue.

They were right. Few in the conspiracy camps were buying the new research as credible.

The blowback has been swift across social media, with opponents accusing the scientists of offering up a whitewashed report.

Facebook was alight with comments.

“Why do I routinely see SOME planes with a very short contrail while others leave trails that last all day? -Planes that are roughly at the same altitude,” wrote Karen Janssen. “Then why was the plane below me spewing a thick trail while my plane was not?”

Nick Uva wrote: “I don’t know if the government is spraying something on us. However, unlike some of you, I am old enough to remember when ice did not spread out laterally and turn an entirely clear blue sky milky white.”

“Sure they are contrails, and Hillary Clinton is not a murderer nor a liar,” wrote Lee Schmersey.

Chip Tipton said the United Nations is responsible and that chemtrails are being used to modify weather patterns: “One of the many chemicals being sprayed is used for weather modification. The chemical is a gas that creates a thin layer that acts as a magnifying glass. It destroys storm clouds and disperses the storm clouds which saturates the air with moisture or better known as humidity. This is causing our droughts and high humidity. The chemicals also create areas of high and low pressure in which they are able to steer weather and storms including hurricanes. I used the term they, they is the UN. It is illegal for the US to perform weather mods over the US but the UN can legally.”

One critic took the time to email a full letter to lead scientist Steven Davis of University of California at Irvine, and he copied WND on the letter. The writer, using only his email handle “New Elwest,” said the study did little to convince him that true scientific standards were followed or that the study was free of “outside influences”:

You took the time to mention different ways for collection of samples in different places on the ground or under water, but I did not read any mention of traveling behind one of the Chemtrail planes to gather specimen samples directly from the original source. There are articles giving specific locations for the chemtrail planes base. WHY did you ignore gathering chemical pollution specimens directly from the original source of the chemtrail pollution being expelled from the plane? WHY didn’t you follow the plane and when it landed go see it to take pictures of what kind of spraying equipment, if any, was inside?

“We live in an age of government propaganda. There are scientists who proclaim global warming is happening to the planet earth. It has also become known that scientists who have oppose the alleged global warming later have both project financing and career problems. How many global warming participating scientists were involved with this consensus study? When they are currently receiving financial funding from government sources or global warming promoters, or hope to receive future project money depending upon how they decide the Chemtrail issue, how can the participating scientists then be objective when making a decision?

Davis responded to the critic:

New Elwest,

Thank you for taking the time to read our article and contact me. I appreciate your critique of our methods, and encourage you to express your misgivings publicly.

It is well and good to have high evidentiary standards for your beliefs, but barring sufficient evidence to compel belief, one must rely on the evidence available.

Your questions instead ask for more evidence and, in my opinion, reflect a misunderstanding of scientific burden of proof. That is, scientists draw conclusions based on available evidence and systematically prefer simpler explanations over more complex ones unless the evidence requires complexity. For example, if you said there was a teapot in solar orbit between Neptune and Pluto, it would be up to you to support your claim with compelling evidence because its existence in that part of the solar system would not be simple to explain.

We’ve asked experts to look at the best available “evidence” of chemtrails and they were able to provide simple explanations based on chemistry and physics that do not involve a large-scale government conspiracy. At this point, it is not up to me to go looking for additional evidence to support a more complex explanation (i.e. I’m not the one who thinks there is a teapot out there). Rather, if folks like you think that – despite simpler explanations based on chemistry and physics – such a secret program exists, please provide new evidence.

As a scientist, I am open to such new evidence and ready to abandon my current beliefs just as soon as new evidence requires me to do so. But as long as there are straightforward explanations for the evidence we have, I won’t be spending my time looking for more.


Steven J. Davis
Associate Professor
Dept. of Earth System Science
University of California, Irvine
(650) 704-5975

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