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Persisting and Spreading Contrails

Do contrails sometimes persist and spread out?

Yes, see the Encyclopædia Britannica article on vapour trails (contrails):

Contrail, streamer of cloud sometimes observed behind an airplane flying in clear, cold, humid air. It forms upon condensation of the water vapour produced by the combustion of fuel in the airplane engines. When the ambient relative humidity is high, the resulting ice-crystal plume may last for several hours. The trail may be distorted by the winds, and sometimes it spreads outwards to form a layer of cirrus cloud.
vapour trail. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica.Retrieved May 4, 2007,from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9074829

(The above quote is from the current EB. However, a Google books search dates the inclusion on the EB back to 1983)

Also see “A Field Guide to the Atmosphere“, by Schaefer and Day, 1981:

Sometimes [contrails] are ephemeral and dissipate as quickly as they form; other times they persist and grow wide enough to cover a substantial portion of the sky with a sheet of cirrostratus (Page 137)

Are spreading contrails a relatively new thing?

No, it has been exactly the same for decades, the only change has been the size of jet engines (producing bigger contrails), engine technology  (burning fuel more efficiently in high bypass jet engines creates cooler exhaust which is more likely to condense before it mixes with the surrounding air) and the amount of air traffic (producing more contrails). Spreading contrails have been mentioned consistently through the history of aviation, including in the popular press. Like Sports Illustrated , Nov 6th 1989:


Now, late in the afternoon, the hatchery explored and the fishing over for the day, Crooks points to the sky. Blue all day, it has now turned hazy. “Contrails,” he says. “The haze is caused by aircraft contrails that have gotten spread out till they cover the sky. This is a major air route from the East Coast to the West.”

For scientific discussion, see, for example, all these articles on contrails. In particular the one from 1970 titled “Airborne Observations of Contrail Effects on the Thermal Radiation Budget

The spreading of jet contrails into extensive cirrus sheets is a familiar sight. Often, when persistent contrails exist from 25,000 to 40,000 ft, several long contrails increase in number and gradually merge into an almost solid interlaced sheet.
Contrail development and spreading begins in the morning hours with the start of heavy jet traffic and may extend from horizon to horizon as the air traffic peaks. Fig. 1 is a typical example of midmorning contrails that occured on 17 December 1969 northwest of Boulder. By midafternoon, sky conditions had developed into those shown in Fig. 2 an almost solid contrail sheet reported to average 500 m in depth.

Airborne Observations of Contrail Effects on the Thermal Radiation Budget
Peter M. Kuhn
Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences
Volume 27, Issue 6 (September 1970) pp. 937–942

(Click on any of the images in this article for a larger view)

Then a few years later, in 1975, we have the article : Multiple Contrail Streamers Observed by Radar, which again has photos (taken in 1971) of spreading and persisting contrails, as well as extensive discussion of these observations.

Multiple Contrail Streamers Observed by Radar.
Konrad TG, Howard JC (1974)
Journal of Applied Meteorology:
Vol. 13, No. 5 pp. 563–572

Here’s a description from 1970, from a local newspaper, the Arcadia Tribune, April 29, 1970:

Aircraft contrails begin to streak the normally bright Arizona sky at dawn. Through the day, as air traffic peaks, these contrails gradually merge into and almost solid interlaced sheet of cirrus cloud – an artificial cirrus cloud that is frequently as much as 500 meters deep.

One of the earliest reference to contrails covering the sky is from the Mansfield News Journal, August 11, 1957, Page 29:

“Within the past few years, the weather bureau has begun to report the trails as actual cloud layers when there are sufficient trails to cover a portion of the sky.”

Here’s a description from 1955:

An extremely persistent con trail might stay in the sky all day

But even earlier, and with a perfect description of what “chemtrail” theorist claim cannot happen comes this account from 1944:

The News, Frederick, MD, March 7, 1944

Contrails frequently have a tendency to cause a complete overcast and cause rain. In Idaho I have seen contrails formed in a perfectly clear sky and four hours later a complete overcast resulted

Below is the entire top of the page of that newspaper, in case you want to look it up.

And from the book “Flight To Arras” by Antoine de Saint Exupery, written in 1942 about a military mission in 1940:

The German on the ground knows us by the pearly white scarf which every plane flying at high altitude trails behind like a bridal veil. The disturbance created by our meteoric flight crystallizes the watery vapor in the atmosphere. We unwind behind us a cirrus of icicles. If the atmospheric conditions are favorable to the formation of clouds, our wake will thicken bit by bit and become an evening cloud over the countryside.

Another from 1958

723 thoughts on “Persisting and Spreading Contrails

  1. JenJen says:

    It doesn’t matter what this site tries to propose to you, it’s a lie. Those pics are photoshopped. CHEMTRAILS ARE REAL! Just listen to how many ambulances you hear during the day or night after a heavy spraying. That will tell you all you need to know. Here’s part of my testimony on when I found out about chemtrails… It was last week sometime when I really began to notice the heavy spraying coming out of these jets in the sky. There were multiple lines and planes…I thought that very strange. They seemed to be lasting quite a long time and they formed plumes that appeared as if they were dripping something from them. I had never seen anything like this before in my life. Usually a contrail dissipates after a few seconds. These lines stayed for hours and spread into clouds and turned the whole sky milky white/silver. While I was outside observing these chemtrails, both my eyes and sinuses started burning. I quickly went inside and started to do my own research on what these funny lines in the sky were. It was true, they were spraying us and had been for a long time, and I just didn’t see it. One of the main reasons I believe in chemtrails is not because of what I’ve read or watched on youtube, but because of what I experienced for myself and what I witnessed happened later that same night. For one, my neighbor went into the hospital for a severe asthma attack. The same night, my husband woke up with severe chest pain and thought he was having a heart attack. (he never had problems with his heart before)…and earlier that night I drove to Von’s to pick up a few things, and noticed an ambulance and fire truck outside. Went inside and actually witessed the lady who had passsed out on the floor, telling the EMT person that she didn’t know what happened to her, she got really dizzy and then had a hard time breathing and passed out. Well, if that wasn’t enough to convince me, the next morning I looked outside and noticed bees that looked like they had been burned to death with some chemical all over my patio. If you don’t believe that they are spraying us with chemicals, just look around at your neighbors and friends and see all the uprisings in breathing problems, respiratory problems, heart problems, and immunity problems, etc….There are people who have tested the rain water after a chemtrial spraying and have found high levels of barium, (which cause the breathing problems) mercury, and aluminum…among other many toxins. This is a blatant attack on the people of America…Everyone should know about this and have the right to know what is being sprayed on them and what the side effects are. One last thing, I know a pastor who just lost his little girl (5 years old) this week to a severe asthma attack..coincidence? I highly doubt it…there are others who have actually had heart attacks and died. This isn’t a game…and we the people have a right to know so we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.

  2. Strawman says:

    “Usually a contrail dissipates after a few seconds.”

    Let me stop you right there. If you actually read the post, you’d know this is not true. Maybe read up on the Contrail Factsheet, as well.

  3. JenJen says:

    Hello Strawman, nice name…anyway, I have read the factsheet, and I don’t feel that it really matters to me about the contrails. It’s what my family and friends are experiencing and it all coordinates with the days that they are spraying the heaviest. In the area where my sister lives they were spraying heavily there for 3 days, her bird had a stroke, she felt like she was having a heart attack and my friend who lives 50 miles away from her, went to the ER the same day with chest pain and heart pain. She was at the ER for 9 hours getting tests done on her heart. Know what? They didn’t find anything. ‘s because it was chemically induced. Why don’t you stop trying to hide behind this disinformation site and start asking REAL people, about what is going in their lives! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! I hear ambulances every time after a heavy spraying here where I live. Just think about it, haven’t you heard more ambulances in the past year? Just start listening, and looking around and you will see it!!! People are sicker and sicker! Unfortunately, people are so afraid to even look into this type of massive crime that they will hold onto anything to avoid facing the truth.

    Of course, articles like this (and fake companies) are there to fool the public. They provide just the type of disinformation that gives the public “permission” to not believe in the current genocide.

  4. Strawman says:

    So me and the people around me, we are not real people? Nice. Very nice.

    On the rest: the science is out there, and it is quite clear. You may call it disinfo, though, if that makes it easier for you to cope with challenges to your wrong assumptions.

  5. Strawman says:

    Ah, and it must be about the most unefficient genocide of all times, as populations are growing, people are living longer and staying healthier in high age.

  6. JenJen says:

    Strawman, I do not know you, I am sure you are a nice, intelligent man, and you truly believe what you that you are right. It is your right to believe what you want. And yes, you are a REAL person, I think..or are you just a strawman? 😉 Anyway, I didn’t mean to insult you, I just feel that so many people are getting sick that it is too coincedental. Don’t you? How are you feeling? Do you have aches and pains, chest pain, fast heart beat, breathing problems?? I”m curious, do you have a mom and dad that are still alive? Brothers, sisters? Any strange health issues that have cropped up? I am telling you, my friend who is struggling with believing in chemtrails (because of this site, she sent me this link), is coughing her lungs up right now and feels like she broke a rib…and she lives in L.A. There isn’t anything or anyone who could change my mind about chemtrails. I KNOW they are real.

  7. JenJen says:

    Barium: The Poison No One Talks About Barium is just as dangerous as arsenic, mercury and lead. It shows up regularly in public water supplies and yet there is almost no awareness of it.

    Exposure to small amounts of barium, dissolved in water, may cause a person to experience these problems:
    1. Breathing difficulties
    2. Increased blood pressure
    3. Heart rhythm changes
    4. Stomach irritation
    5. Muscle weakness
    6. Alterations in nerve reflexes
    7. Damage to your brain, liver, kidney and heart

    When Barium is continually sprayed in the atmosphere it falls to earth and will get in water supplies.

  8. cloudspotter says:

    I feel fine Jen. My family are fine (well my eldest son has a stomach bug but fine otherwise), my father recently celebrated his 90th and is in remarkably good health as is my mother – nearly 80 and I swear she’s busier now than before she retired. My colleagues at work are fine. I don’t recall the last time I saw anyone collapsing on the street. People get sick and people die of course, but they’re hardly dropping like flies as you suggest. Maybe some people need to lay off the cheeseburgers and get some more exercise?

    You do realise that any kind of aerosol released at around 35000ft would take weeks or even years to fall to the ground and is unlikely to land in the same country, let alone county, as it was released above?

  9. MyMatesBrainwashed says:

    Just listen to how many ambulances you hear during the day or night after a heavy spraying.

    Wow! Really?

    It’s impossible for me to fathom this mindset.

    I wish you all the best.

  10. cloudspotter says:

    BTW Jen, barium is already in our water supplies http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/barium.cfm

  11. JenJen says:

    So is it cloudspotter or strawman? Not sure if your the same person or not…but glad to hear you are doing well. I am leaving this site, it’s a waste of my time and yours. Neither one of us is going to change our minds. I wish you all the best. God bless you!

  12. Strawman says:

    He is a different person. I am busy with work right now, but my experience is very different from yours. My family is doing very fine, as is my 93 years old grandmother.

    What I wanted to point out to you, that one of your central assumptions is just wrong: contrails can and do persist if the conditions are right. Please just consider the possibility that your interpretation of anecdotal evidence might be wrong.

  13. bloodyrebel says:

    Easier to believe in them…
    Geoengineering: The Real Climate Threat – corbettreport

  14. Jeff Williams says:

    To Mick and the others (you know who you are):

    I congratulate you on your infinite patience with these people.

    There’s an old saying that “people fear what they don’t understand”, and this site certainly proves that observation.

    I once stood with you, attempting to educate. I don’t have the patience anymore, so it’s become more of an entertainment source for me. Yes, I now make fun of them. Life is too short.

    But I admire you for still trying. Keep up the good work.

  15. Tyler says:

    I live Gibsons BC, where I closely watch the skies for clues on the Geo-engineering subject. I don’t see contrails in all hours of normal “from what I can see”, mostly large planes without any trails. That’s normal ok! But once a week and some times every sunny day, planes fly over producing big trails. They come in groups estimated 8-12 one after another, always flying the same direction producing massive spreading trails. The trails dramatically persist and spread out overlapping, like what people here are talking about. A once clear sunny day becomes severely hazed, creates nice sunsets for some and concern for public safety. The entire sky becomes hazed, hundreds of km in both direction, “really” just moisture from jet fuel? I see many planes with exaggerated differences between the exhaust output that has lead me to believe that there “is” some truth to what people are saying. In BC documenting this subject is considered a hate crime. Is that a coincidence?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Tyler, have you read anything on this web site? ( I don’t really expect an answer, I’m sure you won’t be back).

  17. Jay Reynolds says:

    Tyler wrote:

    “In BC documenting this subject is considered a hate crime. Is that a coincidence?”

    No, it IS seriously unbelieveable though….

  18. Tyler says:

    Here’s where i got my info on the hate crimes issue.


    An article on Yahoo new recently caught my attention on the subject. Seems to be common knowledge these days.

    “For years, governments and utilities in California and other Western states have used cloud seeding, in which a chemical vapour is sprayed into clouds, in a bid to increase rainfall.”


    My own research has revealed dozens of Geo-engineering projects.


  19. Cloud seeding has always been common knowledge.

    But it’s not geoengineering. It’s weather modification, not climate modification.

  20. Jay Reynolds says:

    It is my own opinion that you should be more careful believing what you see on the internet. When you see someone say something, first try a search about the incident and look for different opinions about it.
    I did this and found that Arthur Topham was indeed arrested for a hate crime under Canadian law, but it was not over his “chemtrails” website, it was about a vile racist website he also publishes. This was fairly big news in Canada and this article explains what happened:


  21. Tyler says:

    Thanks for clearing that up Jay, I did not know that Mr Topham is a racist.

  22. Big J says:

    So, I was kinda sucked into this conspiracy theory by co-workers, and I admit, they had me going for a minute. Then I saw your site…. and it’s like, really? REALLY? I’m done with that noise. As great as your science is, someone made a really good point on another thread, “If they are spraying poison, why aren’t we dying?” That made me laugh but it made me think. How can I post pics? I have some really cool cloud pics, and I suck at explanation of weather, and I found them on some Facebook page trying to claim they’re “not normal”. Nevada skies aren’t “normal” but I rest assured are completely natural. ^_^

    I need to dig through links to, but there is someone going around claiming they are polluting commercial jet fuel with deadly poison fuel! Or implying it has some kind of toxic nature. If you want I can find the link, or if it’s too off topic from CONTRAILS then I won’t bother, I seem to recall you said you want to stick to the contrail /weather issue.

    One last thing, here in Reno, we were “getting sprayed” everyday through Jan, Feb, and March… April hits, no more “chemtrails”. I suppose mass murder conspiracies take off Easter? Or maybe it’s just warm weather lol. Cool site, I hope to approach friends and correct this elaborate hoax. American media, thanks for spreading “truth”!

  23. Hi Big J, you can’t post pics here, but you can post a link and I’ll add them.

    You might want to consider posting in the chemtrails forum of Metabunk.org instead, as it’s more suited to discussion, and you can post photos easily there.


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