Home » contrails » How Big is the Gap Between Contrails and Engines?

How Big is the Gap Between Contrails and Engines?

Contrails are the white lines that sometimes form behind high flying aircraft. They are actually a type of cloud. The cloud forms because jet exhaust contains quite a bit of water. If the humidity is high, then the contrails can persist for a long time, as clouds do.

When jet exhaust comes out of the engine, it’s superheated. So the water is in the form of vapor, steam, and hence it’s invisible. As it mixes with the surrounding (freezing) air it very quickly cools down, and at a certain point it will condense out into water droplets, and then freeze into ice. Because it takes a fraction of a second to do this, then there’s a gap between the engine and the contrail.

(Most of the images here come from the excellent contrail spotting forum at luchtzak.be  and ExtremeSpotting.com)

The causes of this gap are the same as the causes behind the gap you see when steam is coming out of a kettle under pressure:

The size of this gap varies quite a bit, based on various factors I’ll discuss below. Here’s some variations:

There are several variables that you need to account for in explaining these differences:

  1. The speed of the plane
  2. The speed of the exhaust
  3. The temperature of the surrounding air
  4. The temperature of the exhaust
  5. The size of the plane.

Now the size of the plane does not actually affect the size of the gap unless you are measuring that gap in “plane lengths” – which you really should not. A large plane does not automatically produce a larger gap, so it’s not a good unit of measurement. The plane length of an A380 is 238 feet, the plane length of an A320 is only 123 feet. So all other things being equal, the gap on the smaller plane will look like it’s twice as long as the gap on the bigger plane if you measure it in plane lengths.

So, consider speed. If the plane was moving at 500 knots, and it was simply letting some water vapor steam out the back, then that steam would be blown away from the plane at 500 mph, so the length of the gap would be determined by how long it takes the vapor to condense.

If the plane was not moving at all, and just shooting out the jet exhaust, then the exhaust would be blown back at that initial speed, and then quickly slow down, but there would still be a gap.

Combine those two things, you’ve got #1 the speed at which the exhaust contrail eventually moves away from the plane, and #2, the initial speed at which it moves away.

Now consider temperature. The vapor has to cool below the temperature at which water will condense. This cooling happens by the exhaust gases (temp #4) mixing with the surrounding air (#3). The hot exhaust mixes with the cold air, just like if you pour a cup of hot water into a cold bath. This mixing happens very rapidly due to the turbulence behind the plane.

So the length of the gap depends on how quickly this cooling happens. It will be quicker if the temperatures involved are low. Modern efficient engines have much cooler exhaust than older engines so will have shorter gaps. The higher you fly, the colder it gets and the shorter the gap gets

Causes of Short Contrail Gap

  • Low-speed plane
  • Low power setting (low exhaust speed and cooler exhaust)
  • High altitude (colder surrounding air)

Causes of Long Contrail Gap

  • High-speed plane
  • High Power setting (high exhaust speed and hot exhaust)
  • Low Altitude (warmer surrounding air)

Of these, probably the one that has the greatest effect is air temperature, which is generally determined by altitude. This is confirmed by Ulrich Schumann, in Atmospheric Physics: Background – Methods – Trends:

For threshold conditions, contrails become visible about one wing span behind the engines. For lower temperature, contrails can be seen forming already a few meters behind the engine.

Prop planes like this C-130 don’t fly as high as jet planes, so when they do create contrails, it’s generally going to be near the warmest temperature possible, and hence the gap will be longer. Prop planes may also entrain the exhaust gasses in vortices behind each engine, resulting in slower mixing with the surrounding air than the more forceful turbulence of a jet engine.

Planes can also make aerodynamic contrails from the wing surfaces or propellors. These are very different to the normal exhaust contrails. Since these are caused by a lowering of pressure, the contrail formation is nearly instant, as the air immediately reaches the correct temperature, so there’s no cooling time required, so no gap. The following photo shows a C-130 like above, but with aerodynamic contrails coming from the tips of the propellors. It also illustrates the vortices that form behind the individual engines, which will slow down the mixing of engine exhaust with the surrounding air, lengthening the gap seen above.

One more thing that can affect the apparent gap is how it is illuminated by the sun. Contrails don’t just spring into existence as solid white clouds, they start out quite faint and transparent. If this region is lit by direct sunlight, then it’s more visible, and the gap will seem shorter. If it’s not lit by the sun – like if the plane is in the shadow of a cloud, then the gap will seem longer.
The following photo illustrates this. The contrail on the left of the photo is being shaded by the body of the plane. Even though both contrails are the same behind the plane, meaning they have the same short gap, the gap on the left contrail looks much longer.

120 thoughts on “How Big is the Gap Between Contrails and Engines?

  1. Alexey says:

    There are at least two more “optical” variables. The optical density of contrail does not change abruptly at some distance behind the engine but increases gradually. Where camera can see the “beginning” of contrail against the background depends on the image resolution and illumination. The contrails are sharper and brighter when they are seen against the Sun (i.e., they are lit from behind).

  2. Don Gisselbeck says:

    The mere existence of a gap surely refutes the chemtrail “hypothesis”. How could barium or aluminum be invisible and then visible?
    (Wouldn’t exhaust in warmer air take longer to condense than in colder air thus producing a longer gap?)

  3. Alexey, very true. You also sometimes get a “fake” extended gap where the start of the contrail is shadowed by the plane. I’ve updated the article with this.

  4. Don, indeed, the gap shows that there’s no powder being sprayed, and it has to be something that condenses.

    But some chemtrail folk had shown video of planes with very short gaps (like on the Emirates A380), and claimed that there’s no gap, which they they claim is proof of chemtrails.

    And yes, warmer air makes bigger gaps, I’d accidentally listed that the wrong way round first, and I’ve correct it, thanks.

  5. LOL says:

    This site is a joke

  6. JFDee says:


    can you be more specific?

  7. I dedicate this song to contrailscience and metabunk says:


  8. Strawman says:

    It’s a fine line between the conspiracy theorist and the troll.

  9. JFDee says:

    Hmm, so no specifics apart from the “paid shill” allegation?

    Even if this allegation had any substance – are the many facts presented here wrong in a scientific sense?

    If so, why don’t you point out your favourite inaccurate statement? Details please.

  10. fu says:

    “Hmm, so no specifics apart from the “paid shill” allegation?”

    Nope.. thats all that needs to be said really…

  11. Steve Funk says:

    When someone has to rely on ad hominems, that is a pretty good indicator of bunk.

  12. JFDee says:

    fu said:

    “Nope.. thats all that needs to be said really…”

    So you don’t dispute the facts presented here?

  13. fu says:

    LMAO.. What FACTS? that CONtrails exist? no shit sherlock

  14. fu says:

    This whole site runs on the premise that because “contrails” exist, any type of “chemtrail” is impossible.. sorry but that is just bullshit.

  15. Strawman says:

    Ehm, no it doesn’t. This site nowhere says chemtrails are impossible. It debunks specific claims about chemtrails. That is, when people point to something and say “chemtrails”, the claim is put to the test. So far, no proof for chemtrails. Just proof of ignorance, manipulation and deception on part of chemtrail adherents.

  16. Strawman says:

    One more thing they have: cognitive dissonance. Fortunately, they can just proclaim anyone to be a shill (with as much evidence as they have for the existence of chemtrails – nil), problem solved, worldview saved.

  17. JFDee says:

    fu said:

    “What FACTS? that CONtrails exist?”

    If you believe that not every trail is a normal contrail – how do you know if you see one that is not normal?

  18. Alexey says:

    I have found in my iPhoto archive some videos showing the early signs of condensation of water vapour from the engine exhaust in the ‘contrail gap’ area. They are taken from a rear window of 777 flying from London to LA the last December. There was more visible condensation right after the engine when the plane flew over Greenland than it did over Minnesota.


  19. Spotter says:

    In the description of this photo is a mistake, because it is an Airbus A340-500. It was good to enter the correct description for this photo.


    PS. Photo number 1 (SU-KBB, A319 Koral Blue) and 3 (9V-SKD, A388 Singapore) are by me. I wanted to ask where they were downed?

  20. Thanks for the correction Spotter, I’ve fixed the caption.

    I found the images by Googling “contrail spotting”, and I think yours came from http://www.luchtzak.be/forums/viewforum.php?f=25

  21. Spotter says:

    OK, thank you for the introduction of a correction. It is interesting to presenting their own gallery. But I have a request, if in the future you will need pictures of my gallery, it’s very please sign them. Link to my gallery:


  22. JFDee says:

    Spotter, very nice equipment, and the photos are just unbelievable !!

    From a “contrail spotter’s” point of view, the ones with aerodynamic trails are particularly fascinating.

    Are these taken from one place mainly, or are you travelling for spotting?

  23. Spotter says:

    Thanks. Photos are made from their own place of residence.

  24. lolz says:

    one only has to check out “contrail”science and metabunk to see the blatant shillery going on..sigh

  25. JFDee says:


    what specifically are you referring to? Can you point out anything wrong?

  26. Brasso says:

    I recently came across this video on YouTube – http://youtu.be/TUEWsDY0X9E

    It shows what appears to the layman to be an exhaust fume/contrail/chemtrail (to be deleted as appropriate) stuttering and stopping. How does this happen? I notice that there are clouds both below and above where the, for argument’s sake, Chemtrail, stops. Please discuss in an adult, open-minded, non-conspiracy, way.



  27. Brasso says:

    OK – so I went to that link and it just provided a few pictures and some non-scientific discussion about dry air and how normal these broken lines are. Not a great explanation.

    Did you watch the video Uncinus?

    I am more interested in the way the trail stops, it kind of splutters and gets thinner. Now I would assume that the air does, or doesn’t have the correct qualities to allow contrail formations. I find it a stretch to assume that it sort of allows contrails but only thinner ones.

    Please discuss.

  28. Humidity is not a binary value, it’s not 1 or 0. It’s a continuous variable. There are values when you’ll get a very solid persistent contrail, there are values when you get no contrail at all. There are lots of values in between.

  29. Brasso says:

    Is this fact or opinion? Where is the evidence to support this? Patchy humidy [sic], I have never heard of that before? There surely must be a point where trails form or do not form. In the still that you have taken from the video, you can clearly see areas where one section of the trail appears right next to a missing section of trail. We are probably talking about areas of a few metres in width here. Are you seriously suggesting that the “patchy humidity” is causing this?

    Surely you must admit that when watching the actual video footage for an average joe on the street it looks more like a spray being turned off.

    Am I being unreasonable here?

  30. Brasso, the evidence for patchy humidity is clouds.

    Clouds are simply indicators of humidity. They are just regions of air made visible by having high humidity. So the humidity can vary as much as clouds can vary.

    I’m sure you’ve seen all kinds of clouds, different shapes, sizes and densities. They vary, they are sometime patchy. Well, with humidity it’s the same thing.

    And this is not a new thing. This EXACT type of patchy contrail was seen back in the 1940s. Here’s a film of it. The patchiness shows at 0:40, and you see a trail stop at 0:47


  31. Strawman says:

    Wow, you really have to explain the obvious to some people.

  32. One should not judge. What might seem obvious to you might not be so obvious to someone else. Many people only have a passing familiarity with science, and then it’s often over simplified. And contrail science can get quite complex if you really start drilling down to what is going on at the molecular level.

  33. Brasso says:

    @ Strawman – if it was that obvious I wouldn’t have asked the question. There is no need to try and attempt to take the intellectual high ground here.

    @ Uncinus – thank you for your video link. That is very interesting to see. I would love to be able to see some footage of those Flying Fortress trails 3 hours afterwards for comparison.

    So this brings me to my next question. It is apparent to many (hence google search for chemtrails returning 9,130,000 hits in 0.40 secs) that the sky looks different to what it did in the past. There is evidence/proof of the population being sprayed in the past. There is evidence/proof of the atmosphere being manipulated. So why is it so shocking to so many that people might think that the skies are being altered (whether for good or for bad).

    Although this website attempts to talk mainly about the science, there is no doubt that its contributors (not all) attempt to belittle anyone who thinks “something is going on”. I personally believe something is going on. My instincts tell me so, my eyes tell me so too. Whether it is a “natural” occurence due to increased aerosols in the sky, changing climate or other factors I do not now, and to be honest I doubt any others on here do too.

    I would like to know though, do you, Uncinus, see anything strange with the way the skies and weather is these days say compared to the 70s, 80s, 90s?

  34. Rude bastard says:

    Pointing out ignorance (lack of knowledge) isn’t “belittling” unless one takes it as such.

    I admit that I’m ignorant about sewing..and West African culture…anyone can call me ignorant about such things, and I wouldn’t take offense. Why do the chemmies get so offended when the truth about their level of knowledge is pointed out?!

    Chemmies DON’T understand this subject…it IS obvious.

    Is there anyone to blame for that?

    I HAVE. Seen persistent contrails through my entire 47 years…there are certainly more of them because there are more flights…and more efficient engine technology.

    Personally, I see no evidence that weather has changed over the decades.

  35. Brasso says:

    You have seen no evidence of weather changes over the decades. Where do you live, Sahara desert?

  36. Noble says:

    Are you referring to “climate” or “weather”?

    And no, in the Boston area…we have had similar weather through my entire life.

    It rains sometimes…it snows sometimes….it’s sunny sometimes. This is New England…

    What differences am I supposed to be noticing? Please give me some examples.

    Even in areas where there are droughts…it’s not that the “weather has changed” because of any weather control program.

    Have you ever heard of the term “dustbowl”?!

    Was there weather manipulation in the 30’s?!

  37. Brasso says:

    Well I would say the two are intrinsically linked. Manipulate the climate and the weather changes.

    Dustbowl? I have heard of the term but no, not familiar with it. Was there weather manipulation in the 30’s? Who knows? Was there the technology? If so, I would say yes at a micro level, perhaps not on a larger scale though.

    Globalisation is the buzz word these days. The globalists/elitists are supposedly responsible for the control of the planet according to people like David Icke and Alex Jones (regardless of what your opinion, whether justified or not, of them is). A hell of a lot of people believe this too.

    It is true what other commentators on here say, i.e. that for an individual living out an existence on this material planet/world, it is difficult to understand the powers at play who influence their day-to-day existence, therefore theories (whether genuine or not) run wild.

    Perhaps “chemtrails” is yet another “conspiracy theory”.

    What I would say though is that this world is not controlled by the people, as we are led to believe, it is controlled by the relative few (when compared to the supposed population of 7 billion people).

    I think this video from a 1976 film called The Network sums it up rather well!


  38. Other than global warming, I see no evidence that the climate has changed. I’m 45, I grew up in the UK, and moved to the US when I was 25. So obviously I don’t have an uninterrupted personal record of observations of one place. But even if I did, it would be useless.

    The weather varies a lot. It varies from day to day, week to week, year to year. It also goes in cycles. Are you aware of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation? Roughly every five years some aspects of the global weather flip around. Then there’s the Pacific decadal oscillation, which has various aspects that cycle at 8-12, 15-30 and 20-30 years. So over my lifetime I would expect a LOT of variation in the average weather, even if I stayed in one place.

    And if you look at much longer periods of time, you will find even more extremes in variation. The Dust Bowl being one local example, but then look at the little ice age, and the medieval warm period.

    And regarding trails in the sky. I think there’s just a lot more now than there were in the 70s and 80s, and people notice them, and people who hear about the chemtrail theory notice them a LOT.

    There’s a constant stream of young people who hear of the chemtrail theory and then say “it was not like that when I was young”. The problem is they define “when they were young” as 2008. In my survey I found a huge amount of people who said they only first saw these trails in 2011 or 2012. They have simply been “primed” to see them now by hearing about “chemtrails”. They saw them before, but simply paid no attention to them, and formed no lasting memories, any more than they formed memories of particular types of clouds.

  39. Brasso says:

    Maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong. Chemtrails/contrails seem to play more of a part in your life than anyone’s I would suggest.

    The world has bigger problems to tackle any way, such as high level paedophilia (see Jimmy Savile case in the UK and beyond), globalisation, bankocracy, etc.

    I just wanted to bring up the video I was sent and see what comments came about.

    Thanks for your time.

    Until next time…

  40. Brasso says:

    I forgot to mention before and it is quite important – Uncinus, you say “Other than global warming, I see no evidence that the climate has changed…”

    Global warming is not a proven science. It is a buzz word (like globalists). It is a massive money maker too and that is fact – e.g. carbon taxes.

    The point however I wish to raise is that perhaps, just perhaps, climate change is not created by cow’s farting, people breathing, cars driving, planes flying (well jury is out on that one) and industry. Perhaps (draws breath) the increased flights, spraying of aerosols from aeroplanes (not conclusively proven but evidence of spraying for weather manipulation has precedent) has created, or at least contributed to, “climate change”.

    Perhaps 😉

  41. By global warming I mean the global increase in temperature. Nobody really disputes that the average global temperature has risen.

    There is some dispute as to what amount of it is man-made, but 99% of climate scientists agree that CO2 emissions have had a large impact over the last 100 years.

  42. Noble says:

    I have no problem with you people using the word “perhaps” after you post your beliefs.

    It’s the statements of FACT about “chemtrails” which I will fight until my dying breath.

    People who say the trails in the sky are anything more than contrails, and then back up that statement with ignorant belief…and nothing more…need to be called on it.

  43. Jay Reynolds says:

    “rude bastard” wrote:
    “Chemmies DON’T understand this subject…it IS obvious.

    Is there anyone to blame for that?”

    That is a very good question. I have no doubt that all the major leaders of the “chemtrails” movement hae reveiwed all the information on this site. I am certain that ALL the players in ‘What In The Wordl Are They Spraying”. I am certain because I HAVE TOLD THEM in multiple email exchanges and in some cases in pesonal telephone discussions. So, brasso, you can blame at least the following for misleading you:
    Michael J. Murphy
    G. Edward Griffin
    Francis Mangels
    Dane Wigington
    Mauro Oliviera
    as well as may others.

  44. Brasso says:

    I’m not a chemmie. I have not been convinced 100% either way yet.

    Only today I received a response from the Department for Transport in the UK in relation to my concerns about “chemtrails” (their quote) and it appears I am not alone. In fact they have now produced a Q&A to save time answering individual questions. This could by some also be considered as an attempt to avoid answering individual questions.

    An interesting point in this Q&A is that, I quote:

    “[…] [t]here is now widely accepted scientific evidence that contrails can grow and and [sic] persist in the sky to form larger clouds that become indistinguishable from natural cirrus clouds […] [t]he Committee on Climate Change report […] states that ‘depending on meterological conditions, the flight of aircraft can also cause formation of linear ice clouds (contrails) and can lead to further subsequent aviation-induced cloudiness’ […]”

    Firstly, why are persistent contrails (or chemtrails) only now forming larger clouds? I appreciate that you attempt to present evidence that persistent trails existed in the past, but why now are they forming “indistinguishable” clouds.

    Secondly, this is evidence of weather manipulation as stated by the fact that persistent contrails (or chemtrails) are creating clouds in the atmosphere.

    Finally, and I could be seen to be rather pedantic here, but in the statement from above that says that aircraft flights “can lead to further subsequent aviation-induced cloudiness”, this is actually saying that persistent contrails can INCREASE future aviation-induced cloudiness. However, it may just be a bad piece of writing by the author.

  45. MyMatesBrainwashed says:

    Finally, and I could be seen to be rather pedantic here, but in the statement from above that says that aircraft flights “can lead to further subsequent aviation-induced cloudiness”, this is actually saying that persistent contrails can INCREASE future aviation-induced cloudiness. However, it may just be a bad piece of writing by the author.

    I could be wrong here, but we’re talking (relative) humidity as a factor in the aviation-induced cloudiness and burning fuel in itself produces water which would have an effect on the (relative) humidity, i.e. planes keep adding water and therefore making it more humid which will lead to further subsequent aviation induced cloudiness.

    That’s what I think it’s trying to say. I could be miles off. Happy to be corrected.

  46. Alexey says:

    Brasso said:

    “this is evidence of weather manipulation as stated by the fact that persistent contrails (or chemtrails) are creating clouds in the atmosphere.”

    Contrails do not create clouds by themselves. They spread in the conditions of relative humidity being supersaturated with respect to ice. These are just like the latent clouds lacking the condensation embryos. The plane exhaust provides such embryos in the form of soot particles. Also, the added water vapor pushes the relative humidity above the water-saturated level, so excess vapor condenses by itself in water droplets, which freeze instantly, generating more condensation embryos. In other words, contrails act as “photographic developer” converting the latent clouds into the real ones.

  47. Rude Bastard says:

    Yes Jay, Those people, and many others, are responsible for creating the hoax.

    But, the chemmies are ultimately responsible for spreading the hoax as truth based on their inability or unwillingness to check the facts through reputable and qualified sources.

    I DO hold people responsible for their own ignorance and I hold people responsible for spreading lies as truth in an effort to spread fear.

    Why would anyone choose to follow a source of information which doesn’t have the credentials or background in that subject?!

    And calling someone who is so obviously ignorant, “ignorant” isn’t an insult if it’s taken the way it’s defined in the dictionary (usually the second definition). Yes, I know it’s easy to take as an insult, but that’s not the way I intend it to be taken. We are ALL ignorant about many things. And chemmies are ignorant about aviation and science. That’s just a fact. It’s their own fault…they CHOOSE to be.

    I’m the first to admit that I’m ignorant about MANY things. I just happen to know a bit about the subjects of aviation and science because I have always been interested in the subjects…not because I recently saw some trails in the sky. The fact that these people can’t admit that they are ignorant about these subjects just because they have read some blogs…and conspiracy site stories, amazes me.

    I actually feel privileged to be a part of the aviation community for so many years. And for the chemmies to shit on this community…it kinda irritates me.

    But not to the point that I’m “angry”, just to the point where I feel I have a duty to post truth where they post the fantasy. They have every right to do so…and so do I.

  48. Brasso says:

    Any answers as to why this phenomenon is only occurring now? (see first post of today by me above)

  49. Rude Bastard says:

    It’s not…

    It has occurred for around 80 years.

  50. Yeah, there’s nothing to suggest that it’s only occurring now. All that’s happening is that SOME people are paying attention to it for the first time. They don’t remember it happening before, so assume it never did.

    But obviously it did. Millions of people remember it happening, science books tell us it happened, old newspapers contain accounts of it happening, there are thousands of photos and videos of it happening.

  51. Regarding this statement

    ‘depending on meterological conditions, the flight of aircraft can also cause formation of linear ice clouds (contrails) and can lead to further subsequent aviation-induced cloudiness’

    That’s simply distinguishing between the initial long narrow contrail (linear ice clouds) and the later spreading of that same contrail into a layer of clouds (aviation-induced cloudiness).

  52. Brasso says:

    Millions of people remember it happening? Do they?

    Science books? Which? Why is it only now that scientific evidence is suggesting it?

  53. Yes they do. I’ve see two surveys, one on AboveTopSecret.com and one I did myself. Of the respondents half of them remembered seeing persistent trails. Translate that out to half the population.

    It’s not only now. Back in 1921 they understood what was going on.

    An altitude flight was made in the morning at McCook Field recently by Lieut. J. A. Macready in a La Pere with supercharged Liberty [engine]. When the airplane reached a height of 26,000-27,000 feet at 11:50 a.m., a long feathery white streamer was observed forming behind a rapidly moving dark speck. The cloud was of the cirrus variety, well defined at the edges and apparently 10 to 15 times the width of the plane. The sky behind the first portion was clear blue with no clouds in the near neighborhood. The first streamer seemed perhaps 2 miles long. Then a gap of one-quarter mile. The second streamer formed with a background of light cirrus cloud and after 2 or 3 miles the plane seemed to go into the cirrus background, for the streamer formation ceased while an apparent path of blue continued beyond for a way in the cirrus cloud. The whole streamer may have been 3 miles long. After 20 minutes the streamer had drifted and spread until it merged indistinguishably with the other cirrus clouds visible.


    The end products of complete combustion of gasoline are water vapor
    and carbon dioxide, and it is found that if the water vapor were condensed,
    there would result a little more than 1 gallon of water per
    gallon of gasoline consumed. It was found by Wells and Thuras, in
    studying the fog off the Newfoundland coast (see U. S. Coast Guard ,
    Bull. 5, 1916) that there were 1,200 water droplets of diameter 0.01 mm.
    in a cubic centimeter of air in a dense fog. If we assume that an airplane
    travels 3 miles on a gallon of gasoline (approximately the figure
    given by the Aerial Mail Service) it is possible to show that if only a
    small part – a fourth or fifth – of the water vapor were condensed,
    there would be abundant cloud to produce the effect observed at the
    Argonne Battle. It should be stated, however, that this water vapor
    would have to be discharged into air which was very cold and nearly
    saturated. This seems to be the correct explanation, and is substantiated
    by scientists at the Bureau of Standards, who say that they have
    actually observed this cloud behind airplanes and automobiles.


  54. And if you want a regular science book, here’s one from 1972:


    The formation and persistence of contrails was scientifically modelled by Appleman in 1953. There are plenty of references to this in books:


    And hundreds of published scientific papers


  55. Rude Bastard says:

    Yes, millions…perhaps billions.

    And every time one of them mentions seeing them in their youth, they are accused of being part of the “plot”…a “shill”.

    It’s a good thing that 99 percent of the population doesn’t know this “chemtrail” nonsense even exists. If they did, the chemmies would be overwhelmed by all the shills.

  56. Yossi says:

    Is it true that the makers of the Murphy film contacted you to arrange a debate but you have not responded?

  57. Rude Bastard says:

    Where did you read/hear that?

    I find it interesting considering that the makers of that film obviously didn’t care to contact anyone who has actually studied the subjects of aviation, atmospheric science or general science, or geology, when making the movie…

    How would they be able to choose an impartial moderator?!

  58. Nobody has contacted me to arrange a debate. I went to the chemtrail conference and suggested to Michael Murphy that we talk sometime, but he never got back to me.

    I’d be happy to try a debate. I suspect it would turn into a “Gish Gallop”, but I’d like to try regardless.

  59. Yossi says:

    On a recent Corbett Radio Report it was mentioned that they had tried to arrange a debate but none of their critics had responded. You seem to be confirming that this was not true. The program can be heard at :
    The reference to lack of response from critics is at 42 mins.

  60. Yes, in that interview Michael J Murphy says he tried to contract people on the web sites (which would mostly refer to this one, and hence me). However I’m not aware of any attempts.

    He also say they (I) “wish to remain anonymous”, which is also not true, I’m Mick West, of Los Angeles, and I’ve met Michael J. Murphy, he knows exactly who I am. There’s also Jay Reynolds, who MJM also knows, and who is also not anonymous.

    HOWEVER, the quote might be out of date, as the description for the show says “Tonight we delve into the archives”. So perhaps it’s from a couple of years ago? I did originally post here anonymously. Jay has always posted as himself.

  61. Jay Reynolds says:

    As recetly as 6/18/12, I challenged Michael Murphy. G. Edward Griffin, Dane Wigigton, and Francis Mangels to debate this issue at the conference in LA on August 19th. They received my challenge, only Griffin said it was a good idea and encouraged the others to do so. Murphy refused to respond, the others refused to participate.
    here is when I made the challenge:

    If they are now telling you that no one will debate he issue, they are lying.

    I also challenged Francis Mangels after he said in an interview that no one would debate him. The radio host relayed my challenge to Mangels, but he refused.
    This was back in February, see the record:

    Mangels refused to debate, claiming he was “in the process of moving out of state”, which also turned out to be false.

    So, what we have here are guys who talk big but run away when challenged by someone who has closely examined their claims and knows where they went wrong. Many people could mop the floor with them. I’d prefer to debate them online in a controlled fashion, but would do it in any venue they would be available. See if you can arrange something, Yossi, I am available about 1/2 the time whe I am not working out at sea.

  62. Brasso says:

    So if these contrails/chemtrails are genuine and have always been here, is there any basis on these fake clouds being used for geo-engineering?

    Have the other people involved in “Why in the world are they spraying?” been challenged i.e. Scott Steven, Rosalind Peterson, Mike Agne, Mark McCandlish, Francis Mangels, Dr James Fleming, Barb Peterson, Dr Nick Begich, Larry Oxley and Dane Wiggington.

    Have you watched the video?


  63. I attended the world premier of that video in Los Angles

    I spoke extensively with Scott Stevens – he has a very mystical view of the what’s going on, quite different to what most of the others think. This makes it hard to communicate things with him. When I showed him a 100 year old book with the “patterns” in the clouds he was attributing to HAARP, etc, he IMMEDIATELY (literally within seconds) changed his theory to incorporate this new information, and instead attributed the patterns to some kind of ancient energy being. He was unflappable.

    I tried to talk to Dane Wigington, he basically did not want to discuss the science as he feels it is settled. When I pressed him on it, he got angry. But there are a LOT of fundamental mistakes in his testing of soil and water.

  64. brasso says:

    And this bit?

    “So if these contrails/chemtrails are genuine and have always been here, is there any basis on these fake clouds being used for geo-engineering?”

  65. Not for deliberate geoengineering. It’s always been known that they have some effect on the climate, but the total effect is not entirely clear. I see nothing to suggest the trails are anything other that the expected byproduct of lots of jet aviation.

  66. brasso says:

    I don’t think geoengineering can be anything but deliberate, can it?

    Therefore, if your theory holds that the changes to the sky are totally normal with no motive to alter the cllmate/weather, either small or large scale, then you suggest that what we see is nothing more than accidental man-made climate/weather changes. Do you agree?

    If this is true, then the various Governments around the world should be conducting experiments to determine the effect/impact of this “accidental man-made climate/weather changes” on the flora and fauna of the world. Do you agree?

    As it is, the whole “chemtrail/contrail” debate continues across the world with little if any contribution from ANY Government to help clear up the situation or to offer any commitment to allay any fears or concerns of the people (regardless of whether they misunderstand the science). Do you think that is normal behaviour of a Government with nothing to hide?

    Do you wonder why conspiracy theories therefore run wild on this subject?

  67. Rude Bastard says:

    It’s no more deliberate than all the other stuff we fill our air with right down here at ground level.

    And why would “the government” take a position?!

    All that will happen is that they will deny it, and chemmis will call them liars and shills.

    It’s better for them to just ignore the hoax altogether.

  68. Jay Reynolds says:

    I already mentioned where I challenged Wigington and Mangels. They both have refused more than once to publicly debate their claims. Dr. Fleming was conned into his contribution in the YWATS movie, he has no support for the idea of chemtrails,yes I have seen it. Here is what he said:

    Rosalind Peterson has already admitted there is no evidence for chemtrails, except for ordinary persistent contrails. see:

    Mccandlish is not a defense industry insider, a scientist or anyone with expertise. He is an artist and UFO buff who paints pictures of airplanes. He was falsely described in the movie, was just reading a script as an actor.

    So, now that you know what Michael J. Murphy hasn’t told you, does that shed some light?

    Governments around the world are looking at the effects of ordinary contrails. They have been doing this for many decades. This is something else that Michael J. Murphy didn’t tell you. Back to 1980.

    Governments are also responsive to chemtrail claims, the USAF, EPA, NOAA and FAA all looked at the idea and have provided our people with a contrails fact sheet over ten years ago. This is what people are seeing, contrails. What more can they do? But you didn’ hear that in WITWATS or YWATS, did you?

    See, Brasso, what Michael J. Murphy has told you pales in contrast with what he hasn’t told you, which is a clear sign of dishonesty. THAT is the real chemtrails coverup. Everyone else is out in the open, except the chemtrails promoters themselves. Isn’t that clear enough?

    I even made a formal request for freedom of information with these people, they refused:

    This is the state of the chemtrails movement. Lies, misinformation, obfuscation, coverup, and some of them make money off of it, so profiteering plays a part as well.

    The two movies have taken up several years of people’s time. During that time, a simple common sense solution has always been available, but even that has been covered up so that propaganda movies could be made at 25cents USD and sold for $20.00 each. Here is how the whole thing can be solved, just identify the planes and you will find that they are making ordinary contrails:

    contact me at [email protected] and help me hold these people’s feet to the fire. A solution is available if only folks would use it.

  69. Brasso says:

    @ Rude expletive – You ask “Why would the government take a position?” Perhaps because the people who voted them into positions of perceived power have concerns and unanswered questions. Perhaps because, although you do not believe it, the effect of contrails/chemtrails is having a catastrophic effect on the flora and fauna of the planet through geoengineering and/or man-made unintentional weather/climate change.

    Do you know that it is not?

    If it is not the Government who is tasked with the investigation then who is?

  70. Brasso says:

    @ Jay Reynolds – So I guess if What in the World are they Spraying is off the mark (as you suggest) then we should turn to Why in the World are they Spraying?

    Ignoring the title of the latter production, and assuming that the continued release of aerosols into the upper atmosphere is having a impact upon the weather/climate, do you think that the Government should be carrying out open investigations, with regular published updates via mainstream media, to clearly explain the impact these fake clouds are causing to the environment?

  71. Strawman says:

    Which fake clouds?

    There are investigations into the impact of clouds and contrails on climate. As has been pointed out to you many times.

  72. Rude Bastard says:

    I see NO EVIDENCE that the trails are affecting the flora or fauna in any way whatsoever. Neither do you.

    And what part of “the government” should address the people? The President?

    What if he said “chemtrails are a hoax…the trails are contrails”…would you believe him?
    The trails have ALWAYS been contrails. They have been explained in publication after publication…for decades. Why is it anyone else responsibility to prove to you that the trails are contrails. It’s YOUR (the chemmies) responsibility to prove they aren’t.

    So far…you haven’t.

    There is no need to address the problem…because there is no problem. Just a small group of people misunderstanding a phenomenon which has a perfectly reasonable explanation.

    NO ONE is obligated to convince you people about anything.

    The only reason that ‘debunkers” bother is because we happen to care about aviation and the perception of it. We also care about science and the spread of fear based on ignorance.

    The trails HAVE been addressed many times…by many schools and scientists…and the only thing that results from it is chemmies accuse the person who tied to help of being in on it. I don’t blame “the government” for not getting involved any further…it isn’t worth it. It’s best to watch the flat earthers from a distance…and giggle.

    There ARE people working on the question of whether or not the trails are affecting the climate/weather. They have been doing it for decades.

  73. Brasso says:

    “You people”, “the chemmies”, “we happen to care” – you love drawing the line of division don’t you?

    Them and us. We are right you are wrong. It becomes difficult to debate when such a line is drawn, it is like the left/right paradigm we see in politics.

    Actually I DO see a lot of evidence to the weather/climate changing. One very clear example is the reduction in the number of bees. I do not know if this is attributed to chemtrails/contrails but I have not seen studies being instigated to determine this. However, if I asked the Government I would expect the following response:

    “The Government is not aware of any evidence to suggest contrails have led to the reduction in the number of bees over the last 10 years.”

    Does that mean it doesn’t? Or does it mean that no experiments have been conducted and therefore no evidence exists that link the two.

    I could suggest that your opening line “I see NO EVIDENCE that the trails are affecting the flora or fauna in any way whatsoever…” is very representative of those working for Government departments 😉

  74. Brasso there is a LOT of research into the relationships between contrails and climate.


    What more do you think should be done? And why?

    And why connect contrails to bees? Slightly more cloud cover is not going to kill all the bees. They seem to be dying from parasites and pesticides.

  75. Steve Funk says:

    Even Rosalind Peterson, who is a strong chemtrails believer, does not attribute bee declines to chemtrails. She puts the main blame on neonicotinoid pesticides, which seems to be the scientific consensus.

  76. Rude Bastard says:

    Yes, I love “drawing the line of division”

    Those who are reasonable, against those who are unreasonable.

    There is no debate..the trails are contrails. No one who is qualified?educated in this subject disagrees with me. Yes, it is an “us” and “them” thing with me. I’m sorry that it bothers you.

    You have no evidence that the number of bees has anything to do with weather or climate….or the trails in the sky. I read somewhere that a tiny mite may be to blame. Why wouldn’t I accept that answer and just assume its the trails in the sky? I have no reason to.

    Thank you for proving my point that no matter what “the government” says about the trails, you are going to believe what you WANT to believe.

  77. Jay Reynolds says:

    Brasso wrote:
    “So I guess if What in the World are they Spraying is off the mark (as you suggest) then we should turn to Why in the World are they Spraying?

    Ignoring the title of the latter production, and assuming that the continued release of aerosols into the upper atmosphere is having a impact upon the weather/climate, do you think that the Government should be carrying out open investigations, with regular published updates via mainstream media, to clearly explain the impact these fake clouds are causing to the environment?”

    Brasso, the second movie rests its premise on the first. The first has been shown to be false in every respect. Therefore the second fails as did the first. You know what they say about that ass…ing word you used?

    Divisions, yes, without division there is no debate. Get Michael J. Murphy or some of the others over here to debate these divisions and let the public decide. Don’t expect the government to jump up and study every conspiracy theory folks come up with. They have actually spent far too much time and money on debunking your people’s stuff. Rosalind Peterson’s congressman spent a whole lot of money getting her the flight tracks of every plane going over her area in one day. There were over 400 flights identified. She still claimed that not much traffic flew over. This is the sort of chemtrail “researchers” who you’ve been believing. Hw do you explain this? What do you call it?

    I hope that some of my work is showing you who knows what they are talking about. You’ve got some hard lessons to learn,

  78. Brasso says:

    Wow! You are totally missing the point. I am a scientist. I am not convinced one way or the other as yet as to whether these contrails/chemtrails are having a negative impact on the environment/climate/weather, or indeed any impact at all.

    I WILL take a look at the information provided by Mick (thanks).

    I am not a CHEMMIE as you are convinced I am. I have posted everything up here that I have found with a view to asking questions. My gut instinct is that there is something we are not being told but I am trying my hardest to take that bit out of the equation just now.

    I do not think bees are being killed by chemtrails/contrails. Re-read what I originally posted and please stop twisting it to fit your +/-, them/us, yin/yang view of the world.

    I cannot afford to do research into this myself and I know through experience that private industry will only carry out research if 1) they are obligated to by legislation, or 2) their is a positive commercial incentive. There is no goodwill in business – the bottom line is the bottom line (to quote a poor actor from a poor film).

    The FACTS are:
    • 1000’s of aeroplanes per day are spraying aerosols into the sky, and the true impact of this on the environment is yet to be fully established
    • A technology known as HAARP is used to alter the upper atmosphere. HAARP is shrouded in mystery and not an open facility that allows people to visit and discuss with the scientists there;
    • Various Governments have been forced to admit that they have actively tested chemical/biological weapons and delivery systems on the very people that voted them into positions of perceived power.
    • Governments and certain private organisations have admitted that they are keen to alter/control the weather.

    So when considering all of those FACTS, I, as a rational man and scientist can see how people may jump to the conclusion that chemtrails/contrails could be part of a conspiracy.

    I am here to ask questions and learn more. Many of you, excluding Mick (hat off to you), are keen to make this personal or a them/us argument. Why?

    My mind isn’t so closed that I cannot alter my position/belief. However to do so I need to see all of the evidence and if it doesn’t exist ask why not.

  79. logos says:

    Brasso. well done! an intelligent response. Right everybody. I’m the same. I want answers and I’m on here to learn. When people attack other people for having an opinion or asking questions then that just shows insecurity and fear.
    These are some of my thoughts…
    1) It costs a LOT of money to fly planes.
    2) It’s done on a wide scale.
    3) It’s not an invisible act and so the government must be aware of it which means they support it or they would have stopped it.
    4) The public are not given information even when they ask for it. This means it must be classified or a “conspiracy”
    5) If it was for the benefit of the planet/people then the organisation behind it would be promoting it and explaining what they are doing. It would be good PR surely. So the fact that it is kept secret suggests it is not for the good of the people…

    I will continue in my own humble way to watch this. I believe, due to the interconnectedness of nature that whatever it is, it will affect me personally. So I want answers.
    Keep up the good work – those of you who are open minded. Those of you who are attacking others… grow up children.

  80. Brasso says:

    Looking at the first paper in the list – Contrails, Cirrus Trends, and Climate, Patrick Minnis, 2004 – it would appear that in a few years from now (2015), the surface temperature over the US (since 1975) will have increased by approximately 1 degree Celsius purely as a result of persistent and spreading contrails. This doesn’t take into account other apparent contributing factors to “global warming”/climate change.

    I am not sure of the accuracy of all of the findings in this paper as I am going by the abstract alone, however this surely would suggest that contrails/chemtrails DO have an impact on the environment/climate/weather. Therefore, in my opinion, open discussion by Government and further studies are justified to determine the impact this has on the flora and fauna of the Earth.

  81. logos says:

    This is interesting. I am new to all this so I just want to clarify.
    I think there is a huge difference between CONTRAILS and CHEMTRAILS right.
    Basically one is water vapor condensation caused by the natural effects of a wing moving through a fluid at speed. Then there is condesation of water from the jet engine’s natural functioning.
    CHEMTRAILS are the deliberate dispersal of chemicals (usually heavy metals) from an aeroplane into the atmosphere. Right?
    I found this interesting article by the US Air Defence department which shows that they want to use CHEMTRAIL technology to weaponize the weather.
    Weather as a weapon
    And also there was the UN Resolution 31/72 which prohibits the use of the weather for hostile activity
    So why is this relevant? Well I came on here to understand the difference between CHEM and CON trails. It would appear that there is evidence that CHEMICALS are being sprayed on a massive scale and identification of the phenomena is a key to monitoring it. I’ve found this page very helpful. thanks for putting it together.

  82. Rude bastard says:

    No one is attacking anyone. We are just pointing out a lack of evidence to support each claim.

    The use of the word “chemmies” is used by me to replace “chemtrail believer”.

    Why are you calling people “children” for disagreeing and posting truth/facts?

    I see no evidence that any trail purported to be a “chemtrail” in any image or video is anything more than a contrail. That’s just a fact. I can’t help but post the truth.

  83. MikeC says:

    Logos – yes here is a difference – but you have what the difference is wrong.

    There is no evidence chemtrails exist at all – but there is evidence contrails exist.

    So the major difference is that one is established fact, the other is supposition.

  84. Rude bastard says:

    By the way, number 4 on your list is false.

    There is an incredible amount of information about the trails in the sky in books, journals, scholarly papers in all the libraries in the world and that still isn’t enough to convince the chemtrail believers (aka chemmies) that the trails are just contrails. Why is that “the governments” fault!? The info is there, you refuse to accept it. No matter what the government says, I’ll bet you refuse to accept it.

    Now, this isn’t to say that there isn’t testing or spraying of any kind related to geoengineering happening from time to time, on some small scale…somewhere.

    I’m just saying that there is zero evidence that the trails have anything to do with any intentional geoengineering project of any kind. They are contrails.

  85. HAARP is shrouded in mystery and not an open facility that allows people to visit and discuss with the scientists there;

    Shrouded in mystery? That’s kind of like saying the Post Office is shrouded in mystery. How do those letters all get where they are going? What going on in that back office? Why do they keep raising the price of stamps? Is there a tracking device in the ValPack?

    Except HAARP actually DOES allow you to go into the back office:


    Can I visit HAARP?

    The HAARP Research Station does not employ sufficient on-site staff to allow routine tours of the facility. Entry to the facility is normally restricted to those having a need to conduct business at the facility.
    We recognize that there is great interest in the scientific work of the facility. In response to this interest, HAARP schedules open houses at which any and all are invited to visit the site. Several scientists are usually present at these open houses so that visitors can talk directly with those who use the facility for research. Open houses have been held most years since 1995 and have proven to be a popular event. The most recent open house was held on July 17, 2010.


    FAIRBANKS — The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program will host an open house at its ionospheric observatory near Tok on Saturday.

    The facility, at 11.3 Mile Tok Cutoff, will be open to the public from 1-5 p.m. Admission is free and cameras will be permitted, with van tours every half hour and physics demonstrations.

    During the event, staff members and scientists will be available to describe the facility’s high-frequency transmitting system and discuss how it is being used, along with the site’s variety of diagnostic instruments, to conduct ionospheric and radio-science research.

    A joint Air Force-Navy project, HAARP conducts upper atmospheric and solar-terrestrial studies for both Department of Defense and civilian purposes, according to a press release.

    Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – HAARP plans open house

    If it’s shrouded in mystery it’s because Nick Begich and Jesse Venture added a shroud. Nick because he’s obsessed, and Jesse because he’s selling entertainment. You will not find a scientist who says it can affect the weather – let alone cause earthquake or control your mind.

  86. Brasso says:

    HAARP, which is managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, is open to the public for one day every other year.

    Jillian Speake, an Air Force spokeswoman based in Kirtland, N.M., said Ventura made an official request to visit the research station but was rejected, “and he and his crew show up at HAARP anyway and were denied access.”


    But let’s not get dragged into whether HAARP is open or not more than one day every two years.

    The FACT is that chemtrails/contrails affect the weather.

  87. So do cow farts, and urban land use. The question is what MORE should be done about it, other than the millions already spent yearly on research about the topic.

  88. Brasso says:

    In answer to your question Mick – LOTS!

  89. Oh, and Jesse and his crew like to show up and get denied access. It’s FAR more suspicious than if they actually got access. So they just show up HOPING they get denied access. Like when they went to that immigrant family holding facility they were pretending was a FEMA death camp. Or when they go to the port of Los Angeles in the middle of the night, and are outraged that security shows up to ask them what they are doing. It’s all theater to sell the show.

  90. Lots, like what? And why?

  91. Brasso says:

    Are you asking me how to prevent global warming/climate change now? Will my thoughts make a difference?

    I am still interested to learn what the Governments are really doing about the effects of chemtrails/contrails on the climate/weather and environment first.

    I am also now interested in the links provided by Logos regarding using weather as a weapon.

  92. Alexey says:


    It is my impression that Logos could be Brasso’s sock puppet. Am I right or not?

  93. Alexey, not as far as I can tell.

  94. Brasso, no I was asking you what you think should be done regarding research into contrails. Do you think there is enough research?

    What do you mean by “really doing”? What makes you think they are “really doing” anything other than what they say they are doing (i.e. nothing other than academic research).

  95. Strawman says:

    Why do you care about “the government’s” (whoever that might be) opinion on the effect of contrails on climate? Isn’t that something to be determined by science, not politicians?

  96. Rude bastard says:

    Remember Strawman, “the government” controls “mainstream media” and by doing so, ensures that science only knows what “the government” wants that sector to know.

    Haven’t you been paying attention?!

  97. Strawman says:

    No need to put up even more strawmen, rude bastard. Please.

  98. Rude bastard says:

    I have seen this exact claim made many times.

Comments are closed.