"Chemtrails" in the Indy skies today?

Many saw the beautiful trails made by planes in the morning skies above Indianapolis. But were they evidence of something more sinister? Nope, just normal condensation from jet traffic. (Whether THAT's damaging to the atmosphere, though, is another discussion.)

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  1. So many cool photos of the trails posted on Instagram made me envious! I was inside in my office and missed the show in the skies above around dawn.
  2. But not everyone just saw beauty in the trails in the sky. Were these nefarious "chemtrails"?
  3. Wikipedia states that the conspiracy theorists are all over the map on what the purpose of such spraying might be: solar radiation managementpsychological manipulationhuman population controlweather modification, or biological or chemical warfare. Some are fearful they will result in respiratory or other health problems.

    The reality of contrails is much less dramatic. 
  4. WRTV (Channel 6) tried to dispel some of the paranoia with a post explaining the contrails phenomenon. They occur when hot, humid air from the planes hits a low air temperature and vapor pressure. 

    These trails lingered for an unusual length of time today because of a humid upper atmosphere and expanded with the active upper jet stream, according to RTV6.
  5. This National Weather Service station goes into more detail about contrails, likening them to  "the process that occurs when you breath on a cold winter day and you can see your own breath in the form of a 'cloud.' "
  6. But contrails DO have an effect on the long-term quality of our atmosphere, according to one scientist -- they can result in an increase in cloud cover. 
  7. "It has been estimated that in certain heavy air-traffic corridors, cloud cover has increased by as much as 20%," writes Dr. Steve Ackerman of the University of Wisconsin. The resulting increase in cloud cover cools our surface temps, but also changes the chemistry of parts of the atmosphere and contributes to global warming, he writes.
  8. That effect is why one weather blogger notes the irrationality of some conspiracy theorists who believe "chemtrails" are part of a project to defeat global warming. It actually has the opposite effect.
  9. I want to believe ... in humidity and in science!