Storm clouds build over Sydney's Bondi Beach.
People are seen watching stormy weather build over Sydney's Bondi Beach. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP IMAGES)

HAARP weather control conspiracy is off in the clouds

Lachlan Coady August 24, 2022

The HAARP ionospheric research facility can be used to change the weather.


False. The radio waves emitted by HAARP have no impact on our weather.

A Facebook post claims the HAARP research facility in Alaska can control earth’s weather by vibrating metal particles in the atmosphere with radio waves.

The post, which is the latest in a string of claims regarding supposed geoengineering of our weather, says planes spray suspended metals into the atmosphere before the facility transmits radio waves to “excite” these metals and thus alter the weather.

But the claim is false. Experts told AAP FactCheck that HAARP has no impact on the troposphere or stratosphere where planes fly and weather occurs.

HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program) was built as a joint project by the US Air Force and US Navy in 1993 with control transferred to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in 2015.

Its main feature is a high-frequency transmitter used to study the ionosphere, part of the earth’s upper atmosphere.

There wre claims the flooding in QLD was the result of geoengineering
 AAP FactCheck previously debunked claims the flooding in Queensland and NSW was the result of geoengineering 

Due to its origin as a military research project and its scale, HAARP has long been the subject of conspiracy theories. There have been many claims that it can cause natural disasters and it was the subject of a documentary by former Minnesota governor and wrestler Jesse Ventura, who claimed HAARP could be used as a mind control device.

Professor Fred Menk, an expert on earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere from the University of Newcastle, described this most recent Facebook claim as “nonsense”.

“HF (High Frequency) radio transmissions are concerned with interaction with ionised particles – electrons – in the ionosphere, above 100 km altitude. Weather at ground level is driven by geophysical effects, mostly solar heating, into the neutral atmosphere much nearer the ground,” he said in an email.

“.. There is a vast number of HF transmitters globally which direct medium or high power signals to the ionosphere. These are used for long range radio broadcasting and other purposes such as surveillance (radars) and monitoring the state of the ionosphere.

“There is no possibility of any of this impacting on daily weather. Any such suggestion is nonsense.”

He said most of the weather experienced on the earth’s surface occurs in the troposphere and stratosphere, up to around 15 kilometres altitude. This is well below the minimum height of the ionosphere.

The ionosphere is found in several bands, which shift and change size depending on a variety of factors. The lowest band starts at roughly 60-70 km altitude and goes as high as 500 km.

“In summary, there is a very large gap between the air (observable weather) and the ionosphere. The International Space Station flies at 400 km altitude, in the ionosphere, and they certainly don’t get rain up there” Prof Menk said.

AAP FactCheck asked Professor Bruce Ward, an ionosphere researcher at the University of Adelaide, if there was any possibility that HAARP could impact weather.

“Categorically no,” he replied in an email.

He concurred with Prof Menk, adding: “The weather we experience is in the troposphere… the weather in the troposphere is driven by solar heating of the land and sea.”

He said: “The amount of energy involved in ionospheric heaters such as HAARP is many orders of magnitude smaller than that involved in solar heating of the earth’s surface and is constrained to a minuscule area. To have any effect on the weather there would need to be some physical phenomena that transferred the energy to the lower atmosphere in a highly non-linear fashion (ie magnify it enormously).”

The Melbourne skyline at sunrise.
 Weather in the troposphere is driven by solar heating of the land and sea, an expert told AAP FactCheck. 

Prof Ward said claims that ionospheric heaters such as HAARP can modulate the weather are “being pushed by people who have no understanding whatsoever of the physics involved in atmospheric circulation and weather systems”.

He added: “This particular conspiracy theory has been doing the rounds for 30 years. At no stage have I seen a claim that is backed by even a modicum of scientifically credible theory.”

AAP FactCheck previously debunked a post falsely depicting a defunct Russian radar system as HAARP as well as claiming that it controlled weather. Other fact checking outlets have repeatedly debunked similar weather control claims – examples here, here, here, here and here.

The Verdict

The claim that the HAARP facility can control the earth’s weather is false. The facility only interacts with particles in the earth’s ionosphere, well above the range where weather formations occur.

Additionally, experts said the energy involved is so small and concentrated on such a tiny area that it would be impossible to influence our weather.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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