Contrails or chemtrails – the (not so) hidden truth

In 1996 the U.S. Air Force published a research paper on the possibility of weather modification in the future. It was in response to a directive to outline a future strategic weather modification system for the purpose of maintaining US military dominance in 2025 and was based upon fictional scenarios. This paper grew legs and thus began the chemtrail conspiracy.

What are chemtrails?

A certain number of people believe that chemtrails are the lingering white lines seen criss-crossing our skies that are left behind by certain aircraft. It is said that these particular lines, which remain in the sky longer than regular contrails (more of those in a minute), are spread by government agencies and contain chemicals who’s purpose range from weather modification to population control.

I see – so what are contrails?

Well contrails (condensation trails) are far less sinister vapour trails left in the wake of jet aircraft and are almost exclusively made up of water in the form of ice crystals. The water vapour in the air condenses and freezes around tiny particles that exist in the aircraft exhaust and produce the white lines that you see in the sky. They usually only form above altitudes of 30,000 feet where temperatures are less than about -40 degrees Celsius.

So the contrails that linger in the sky are dangerous chemtrails then?

Well – no. Without wanting to disappoint any avid conspiracists, we as pilots, can find no evidence of the production of vapour trails in the sky that contain chemicals designed for anything hidden or sinister – or any purpose for that matter.*

Then why do some remain for hours and some only seconds?

Contrails, as mentioned, are made up of water vapour. The more water that’s in the air, the bigger and longer lasting the trails will be. So in air that only has a small amount of moisture in it, they will dissipate quite quickly and will seem to follow the plane whereas in very humid air, they will take on a much longer form and can remain in the sky for hours.

So no such thing as chemtrails?

Sorry, but no – not that we have any evidence of (and we are in the air quite a bit).


* The only exception to which the asterix above pertains, is the existence of cloud-seeding, which involves spraying clouds with chemicals in order to increase precipitation in drought-prone areas but this process doesn’t produce any vapour trails in the sky such as are purported to be chemtrails.


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