July 18, 2013 - 12:30 PM
OKANAGAN - Fraudulent letters about so-called chemtrails have been seen in the Okanagan this past week.
Kelowna, West Kelowna and Penticton residents have seen distributed letters, some with city letterhead, with warnings of unidentified planes spraying chemicals over the three communities. City officials have said the letters are fakes.
So-called chemtrails are part of a conspiracy theory that posits some trails left by aircraft are chemical or biological agents sprayed at high altitudes for a variety of purposes in programs directed by Western governments.
Fast-moving, high-flying aircraft normally leave contrails, thin and white cloud formations triggered by the water vapor in the exhaust of aircraft engines. Contrails can remain in the air for seconds or hours depending on atmospheric conditions.
Conspiracy theorists state some contrails are not contrails at all but rather sprayed chemicals, to either change weather patterns, infect human populations with viruses or defoliate forests. Some conspiracy theorists also use pictures of aircraft dumping water or fire retardant chemicals on forest fires or photos of military planes dumping the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam war to back up their claims.
The scientific community as well as military air force staff in Canada and the U.S. have been debunking these conspiracy theories since the 1950s.
A 2001 US Today article has atmospheric scientist Patrick Minnis of NASA, debunking the theory.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a fact sheet detailing contrails and why some remain the air for as long as they do.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013