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Contrails Creating Artificial Cloud Cover

A Diary of Contrails Over Southwestern Montana
During Certain Days in March, 1999


Joe Beardsley

    I have noticed for at least the last two years the peculiar, I would say ‘abnormal’, appearance of the contrails of high-flying military jet aircraft.  In the past, both civilian and military jet aircraft would create clear white contrails that in a brief time, varying upon certain atmospheric conditions, would dissipate and disappear.  Now, however, the contrails of military jet aircraft endure for prolonged periods of time, lasting often for many hours, widening, and forming a high, thin, but very real cloud cover.  When a series of these planes fly at spaced intervals across the sky, as they frequently do, their contrails tend to spread, merge, and form a cloud cover across the entire sky, resulting in a noticeable decrease in the energy of the sun reaching the earth.  There is no question that these events are occurring with increasing regularity over Three Forks and the Gallatin Valley in Montana.  Following is a catalog of some of the times and details about artificial cloud creation that I observed over southwestern Montana during March, 1999.  Of particular interest is the entry for March 21, and the odd-colored corona that occurred in a contrail created cloud.

March 2, 1999 - Numerous military aircraft flew during the morning, most flights east/west in direction.  By afternoon, a thin, haze-like cloud cover had formed, which remained with discernible contrail direction patterns during the entire afternoon.  The power of the sun was definitely diminished.

March 4, 1999 - Numerous military aircraft flew during the morning, the flights being at various times and dispersed across the sky, some flights being in an east/west direction, and some being in a north/south direction.  By afternoon, a thin, haze-like cloud cover had formed, which remained with discernible contrail direction patterns during the entire afternoon.  The power of the sun was definitely diminished.

March 11, 1999 - This morning, a number of flights took place, in a variety of directions, most of them either east/west or north/south.  The natural sky contained a layer of fairly low, broken clouds.  Above this natural cloud layer, the contrails formed, by late morning, a clearly visible, thin, haze-like cloud cover of the entire sky, as could be seen when looking anywhere up through the natural, broken clouds.

March  12, 1999 - Yesterday evening, before sundown, my wife observed a number of military jet aircraft flights, spaced east/west across the sky, and traveling in both directions north-to-south, and south-to-north.  At 7:00 a.m. this morning, we both observed a thin, haze-like, complete cloud cover over the entire sky, which cover still, even though widely dispersed, contained the clearly discernible north/south patterns and lines of the original contrails left by the aircraft.  At 12:00 noon, the sky still contained a complete covering of these thin, artificial clouds, and the north/south direction patterns were still visible within them.  By 4:30 p.m., the overhead sky had cleared, but still contained broad, broken wisps of contrail lying along the north/south paths of flight; the eastern quarter of the sky is still under an overcast whose broad contrail patterns remain clearly marked; the southwest corner of the sky still contains a fairly heavy cloud cover, made up entirely of the broad, clearly marked contrails, now angling from due south to beyond the horizon in the northwest.  Depending on whether or not any planes flew and created trails during the night, it is possible that this cloud cover has lasted nearly 24 hours.

March  13, 1999 - During the morning hours the sky contained areas of long, fairly dense, elongated clouds that might or might not have been the result of jet aircraft contrails.  The thing is, once you have observed that it does happen, and is happening, you can never again see these kinds of clouds without being suspicious that your federal government has for some reason caused them to form.  During the afternoon a small number of the high jet flights occurred, their contrails appearing to break up within a few minutes of the flight; but later, the middle of the sky over us contained the kind of thin, wispy, feathered clouds that we now know come from jet contrails.  These have created a very light, feathery cloud cover over the middle of our sky.

March  14, 1999 - This morning, at 7:00 a.m., our sky contained a variety of clouds, most of them elongated, some denser than others, many bearing the distinct characteristics of having formed from jet contrails, that is, being thin and almost filmy, long, in some cases from horizon to horizon, being spaced at intervals across the sky, having soft-edged but very discernible borders, with bluer strips of sky between.  About 10:30 a.m., I observed from my window two aircraft flying, one southeast to northwest, the other northwest to southeast, separated by an interval of blue sky, both contrails lasting, beginning to broaden with time.  At 11:00 a.m., I observed the sky from my yard: eight clearly definable contrails in various stages of dispersion from fairly tight to quite broad, two lying east/west, five lying southeast/northwest; other thin patterns seeming to have been moved by winds or air currents, one clearly lying southwest/northeast; from just west of zenith to the eastern horizon, the sky is covered, patchily, by an artificial overcast.

March  15, 1999 - 8:30 a.m.  The sky contains a high, thin overcast, particularly in the south.  To the north lie distinct lines from the east horizon to the west that bear the suspicious looks of being old jet contrails.  During the morning, a handful of planes fly on east/west routes, some of the contrails disappearing soon, others remaining, broadening, and slowly moving northward.  Much of the sky overhead is composed of thin clouds formed in herringbone and mare’s tails patterns.  All of the overcast tends to be elongated with clearly definable strips separated by blue; by 11:30 a.m., these strips in the southern half of the sky lie on a southwest/northeast vector.  It appears that there may be a mix of natural clouds and contrail-formed clouds, but the percentage of the mix is impossible to tell.

March  17, 1999 - At 7:00 a.m. the sky was blue and cloudless.  About 9:00 a.m. this blue condition was again noted.  By about 10:00 a.m. the planes had begun to fly, leaving broadening, lasting contrails.  By early afternoon, numerous contrails could be seen lying in a variety of directions over the entire sky.  By 3:00 p.m., the entire sky is again covered with an overcast, most, if not all, of which has been created by contrails.

March  18, 1999 - The day was partly cloudy all day with a high overcast looking thicker than the typical one created by contrails.  A lot of blue sky showing, and in some places, later in the day, some of the clouds could have been caused by airplanes, which were flying again today, but it was hard to tell.

March  19, 1999 - A clear blue day all day long.  A moderate amount of high flying air traffic, but whose contrails seemed to last for varying periods of time and then disappear.  A section of one contrail in the south broadened a bit and lasted for about half-an-hour, and then disappeared.  This was the first blue sky Montana day that has occurred in the month of March.

March  20, 1999 - Another clear blue early morning.  By 12:30 p.m. a handful of contrails can be seen in the south and west.  Several have started to expand but are clearly discernible as contrails; the rest have expanded and created a thin, nearly invisible film across the sky overhead and in the south.  As of the time of this observation, it appears that the only reason the cloud cover is not complete across more of the sky is that not so many planes have been flying.

March  21, 1999 - Early morning sky clear.  By midmorning, high, thin mare’s tails clouds had formed in parts of the sky.  About 11:00 a.m., a broad east/west contrail was observed, already broad and formed into strung together puffs of cloud, but clearly a contrail.  A plane was observed flying south-to-north, leaving a contrail which eventually broadened, drifted to the west, and became cloudlike.  The east/west contrail had drifted north, formed into a mare’s tail type cloud, and was hardly distinguishable from the others.  This gave rise to the suspicion that most of the rest of these same looking clouds were the result of contrails.  I suspect that some catalyst in the jet fuel is not only causing the contrails to form into clouds, but is causing the atmosphere itself to create clouds that would not otherwise be there.  About 12:50 p.m., the sun formed for about half-an-hour a partial, brownish yellow corona in one of these feathery clouds.

March  23, 1999 - 7:30 a.m. - clear sky except for the west where 5 or 6 contrails have broadened into misshapen but clearly contrail clouds, lying west-northwesterly over the horizon.  12:00 noon - a thin, wide spread contrail lies north/south directly overhead; in the west a number of contrails criss-cross, spreading, creating a thin, intermittent cloud cover.  In the late morning a large forest or brush fire several miles to the south began sending up a massive plume of smoke which drifted slowly to the north and northeast, then slowly spread west.  By 4:30 p.m., the smoke is obscuring much of the sky, but places where it is thin enough to see through, a number of contrails are visible, flown at intervals both east/west and north/south, lasting, spreading, and creating an artificial overcast above the smoke.

March  24, 1999 - 8:30 a.m., the sky contains high, thin, intermittent overcast that looks suspiciously like the remains of contrails.  During the morning one plane is observed flying east-to-west, its contrail soon disappearing and leaving only a few long-lasting puffs that look like small clouds.  Another plane flies east-to-west, its contrail lasting, broadening, then seeming to become part of a strip of the already existing overcast.  4:00 p.m., contrail remnants can be seen in the west, and broad, contrail-like  streaks in the north and northeast.  The rest of the sky is pretty much clear, except for a few scattered, enduring wisps of old contrails.

March  25, 1999 - 8:30 a.m., the northern sky is streaked with old, broadened contrails, and the western sky is criss-crossed by numerous contrails of various age, that are remaining and broadening.  Overhead, the extremely thin, almost invisible haze, has certainly been created by contrails.

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