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Triggering Lightning and Rain is a Goal of the US Military — So They are Funding Research to Make it Happen

Lightning: Photo by Marcin Kargol.
Photo by Marcin Kargol.


Ssssh...  You're supposed to think the military can't already manipulate the weather.


By Travis Gettys
Researchers are working to develop a technique to trigger rain or lightning with high-energy laser beams.


Stimulating static-charged particles in clouds with the right kind of laser could summon rain or lightning, scientists believe, but lasers cannot reliably be fired great enough distances for this to be practical.

A team of scientists from the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona think that lasers could be fired at greater distances if a secondary beam is used as an energy reservoir to prevent the breakdown of the high-intensity primary beam.

They recently published a report, “Externally refueled optical filaments,” on their project in Nature Photonics.

Although lasers can travel great distances, they tend to collapse inward on themselves when a beam becomes too intense.

European researchers produced artificial ice clouds last year using high-power, ultrashort laser pulses focusing on cirrus clouds in the upper troposphere, where weather occurs.

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