The truth behind chemtrails: what is that up in the sky?

Professor Eric Betterton of the University of Arizona routinely receives inquiries about vapor trails.

The truth behind chemtrails: what is that up in the sky?

CREATED Feb 20, 2012

Reporter: Aaron Brackett
Web Producer: Chuck Meyer

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Shortage of breath, trouble sleeping, earaches, and a list of about 30 pains and ailments are what one group claims the government is doing to you. Since the mid 1990s, conspiracy theorists have devoted their lives to the idea of chemtrails.  Every now and then  you'll see the claims of chemtrail conspiracy theorists popping up anywhere from the Internet blogs and websites to hand-lettered signs stapled to telephone poles.  This theory claims the government is purposefully adding chemicals to airplane exhaust for to control the weather or, even worse, to control population.

Is there thing to it?

There certainly is no shortage of internet buzz about the topic with a simple search yielding thousands of websites, videos, and lectures on the topic. One such video depicts a sky filled with long, feathery clouds over a cold Chicago afternoon. The man shooting video describes the clouds as chemical trails from airplanes and claims they are usually not there.

9 On Your Side took this video to the experts. John Brost of the National Weather Service described what was seen in the video. "What’s happening in this particular case is that you have jet engines or jets flying across the sky at a high altitude. At that high altitude, you have very cold and dry air. When this jet engine, which is hot, produces hot air and water vapor into this cold dry atmosphere, it condenses and produces a cloud." He added that there was nothing suspicious about the video that has been circulating since early January.

Ken Adachi of says there is more coming out of airplanes than simple exhaust. "I think it’s an operation to compromise and cripple one's immune system to make one more susceptible to disease and conditions," Adachi said. "I think there is a population reduction, genocide agenda at play here." 

In search of answers, 9 On Your Side took these concerns straight to the government. Although representatives from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base declined an interview, the base did release a statement saying, "When flying above 30,000 feet, its common for aircraft exhaust to mix with the air and produce water vapor".

University of Arizona professor Eric Betterton gets numerous phone calls and emails about so called chem-trails. Betterton tells me that they are only condensation from aircraft engines, and that the wispy particles are only visible in the right conditions.

"We can go out and create them, we can study them, we have equations that can predict their formation, we know when they will form," said Betterton. "The U.S. Air Force studies them and predicts their formation because it becomes a military issue. If you can see a contrail, you know where the airplane is, so you have to avoid those conditions or at least predict them."

Another theory involves governmental control of weather through cloud seeding. The National Weather Service it does not participate in this science.

"The National Weather Service does not use cloud seeding," said Brost. "We are a forecasting agency; we look at the atmospheric patterns and try to predict what is going to happen, we do not in any participate in cloud seeding."

Is there any real evidence of deliberate chemical spraying to control weather or population?

"There is no real evidence whatsoever," said Betterton.