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Make It Rain: State Control of the Atmosphere in Twentieth-Century America

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Weather control. Juxtaposing those two words is enough to raise eyebrows in a world where even the best weather models still fail to nail every forecast, and when the effects of climate change on sea level height, seasonal averages of weather phenomena, and biological behavior are being watched with interest by all, regardless of political or scientific persuasion. But bet Weather control. Juxtaposing those two words is enough to raise eyebrows in a world where even the best weather models still fail to nail every forecast, and when the effects of climate change on sea level height, seasonal averages of weather phenomena, and biological behavior are being watched with interest by all, regardless of political or scientific persuasion. But between the late nineteenth century—when the United States first funded an attempt to “shock” rain out of clouds—and the late 1940s, rainmaking (as it had been known) became weather control. And then things got out of control. In Make It Rain, Kristine C. Harper tells the long and somewhat ludicrous history of state-funded attempts to manage, manipulate, and deploy the weather in America. Harper shows that governments from the federal to the local became helplessly captivated by the idea that weather control could promote agriculture, health, industrial output, and economic growth at home, or even be used as a military weapon and diplomatic tool abroad. Clear fog for landing aircraft? There’s a project for that. Gentle rain for strawberries? Let’s do it! Enhanced snowpacks for hydroelectric utilities? Check. The heyday of these weather control programs came during the Cold War, as the atmosphere came to be seen as something to be defended, weaponized, and manipulated. Yet Harper demonstrates that today there are clear implications for our attempts to solve the problems of climate change.


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Weather control. Juxtaposing those two words is enough to raise eyebrows in a world where even the best weather models still fail to nail every forecast, and when the effects of climate change on sea level height, seasonal averages of weather phenomena, and biological behavior are being watched with interest by all, regardless of political or scientific persuasion. But bet Weather control. Juxtaposing those two words is enough to raise eyebrows in a world where even the best weather models still fail to nail every forecast, and when the effects of climate change on sea level height, seasonal averages of weather phenomena, and biological behavior are being watched with interest by all, regardless of political or scientific persuasion. But between the late nineteenth century—when the United States first funded an attempt to “shock” rain out of clouds—and the late 1940s, rainmaking (as it had been known) became weather control. And then things got out of control. In Make It Rain, Kristine C. Harper tells the long and somewhat ludicrous history of state-funded attempts to manage, manipulate, and deploy the weather in America. Harper shows that governments from the federal to the local became helplessly captivated by the idea that weather control could promote agriculture, health, industrial output, and economic growth at home, or even be used as a military weapon and diplomatic tool abroad. Clear fog for landing aircraft? There’s a project for that. Gentle rain for strawberries? Let’s do it! Enhanced snowpacks for hydroelectric utilities? Check. The heyday of these weather control programs came during the Cold War, as the atmosphere came to be seen as something to be defended, weaponized, and manipulated. Yet Harper demonstrates that today there are clear implications for our attempts to solve the problems of climate change.

22 review for Make It Rain: State Control of the Atmosphere in Twentieth-Century America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Pretty interesting and not too jargon-y look at US state dealings in “weather control,” especially in the 50s-70s

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zach Glickson

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy Prendergast

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lin Ding

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kehaines

  7. 5 out of 5

    J.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Thistlethwaite

  9. 4 out of 5

    Charudatta Navare

  10. 4 out of 5

    AJ

  11. 5 out of 5

    Colette

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Wallin

  13. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

  14. 5 out of 5

    K.O.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sean

  16. 5 out of 5

    Holly L

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julien Cossette

  20. 4 out of 5

    Floris

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Armstrong

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leanna

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