Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tornadoes with a Side of Conspiracy

by Edward, This post originally appeared at Radioactive Lab Rats.

I was volunteering at science world, and was demonstrating the two litre pop bottle tornado maker. A woman came up to me, and we had a nice but weird chat. She seemed to think that rockets and spacecraft create tornadoes around the world, and the governments knew, but was withholding that from the public. I don’t know if she was serious or not. So I did a little research on tornadoes.

Tornado Maker

According the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “A tornado is a violently rotating column of air extending from a thunderstorm to the ground.” It forms when warm air meets cold air, and when they meet, the air rotates horizontally  Picture here a car’s tire spinning. Eventually, the rotating air shifts so that it becomes vertical, and so you have a column of air. The tornado funnel that we see drops out of it. Check out the youtube video below for a better description.

Anyways, I haven’t been able to find anything that may suggest that airplanes cause tornadoes. But, when I queried “airplanes causing weather patterns, I came across and article that says airplanes are actually leaving chemical trails, called chemtrails. And so of course I look up chemtrails, and the first link is one to wikipedia (big surpirse) called “Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory”. I don’t know if I’m just out of the loop, but this is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. Apparently officials and scientists do get a lot of complaints about this. Go figure.

A little background on chemtrails: We’ve all seen the condensation trail (contrail) left behind by airplanes; when I was younger I used to think they were made from rockets. What the theory holds is that these trails are actually made up of biological or chemical compounds, and I’ll leave you to guess what there’re for.
And to answer my earlier question, no, airplanes don’t cause tornadoes, but they may have an effect on climate. Apparently the contrails does something called radioactive forcing, which, to my understanding is a bit like greenhouse gases. And of course, to run an airplane, it takes huge amounts of energy, which we use in the form of fossil fuels, and does create greenhouse gases.
I don’t expect this post to actually explain anything, but hopefully it piques your interest enough to go do a little research.
About this contributor: Edward is a Grade 11 student and attends Churchill Secondary. He is fortunate enough to be in the Future Science Leaders program at Science World and likes science. He volunteers at Science World too. He thinks it would be cool to be a science communicator at some point in his future.

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