Weaponizing the weather

bering strait mapUsing the massive power of modern weapons to cause devastating global environmental change is one of the main threads of my thriller, The Atlas Fracture. A recent post at Salon, “We Tried to Weaponize the Weather,” describes some of the efforts by scientists and the military in the 1950s and 1960s to do just that.

A shadowy and “unofficial” group of top scientists and defense officials called the Von Karman Committee regularly looked at ways the Soviet Union might be planning to change global weather — such as damming the Bering Strait, which would cause the Arctic sea ice to melt. They also studied methods by which the U.S. and NATO could also “weaponize the weather” and attack the Soviet Union. An excerpt:

“Another scheme was to divert the Gulf Stream, which would severely change the climate of Northern Europe. Still another idea was to dam the Bering Strait. Such alterations would have clear, long-term effects on world climate. And these changes seemed possible. Reflecting on von Neumann’s predictions, the NATO group believed that an extraordinary tool lay in the hands of military planners: the hydrogen bomb. ‘It is perhaps true,’ the committee concluded, ‘that means presently within man’s reach could be employed so as to alter global climate for long periods.'”

Luckily the Von Karman Committee’s efforts were never implemented. But what if some of the committee’s wild ideas had been attempted? How close would they have come to the events depicted in The Atlas Fracture?  You’ll have to read it and judge for yourself!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *