Big ships can leave "contrails" too

You're familiar with contrails, the tracks left by airplanes as they move across the sky. Those are made when hot water vapor from the exhaust of jet engines hits cold, high-altitude air and condenses into ice.

Under the right conditions, big ships can leave a very similar trail, but it's caused by a slightly different mechanism. Incomplete combustion of fossil fuels means little particles of dust—aerosols—come out in the exhaust. Water molecules are attracted to these aerosols. As water builds up around a piece of dust, you get a cloud. Yes, it's basically cloud-seeding.

This photo of oceanic "contrails" over the Pacific is one of NASA's Images of the Day today, but it's not the first time they've featured this kind of photo. This is a cool phenomenon and they've posted photos of it in 2002, 2005, and 2009.

Thanks Philip Bump!


    1. I see what you did there.

      Everyone know that it’s… CHEMtrails, and they’re part of an Illuminati conspiracy.

      But YOU wouldn’t know that, would you?

      1. Chem-trails.  Calling card of the scientifically illiterate.

        If you hear this in a conversation, just smile, nod and back away quickly.  Or..slap on a tinfoil hat and dive into the rabbit hole just to see how deep it goes. 

        1. One of my yoga students used the ‘ch’ word a few weeks ago. I just smiled and slipped out the door as quickly as I could.

          1. Does it still sound farfetched for you?


            And, why the arrogance?

            Because it’s batshit crazy.

        2. Avoid labeling people. Bill Gates pushing about spraying, below (not that they aren’t spraying already…).
          London Guardian:

          “…A small group of leading climate scientists, financially supported by billionaires including Bill Gates, are lobbying governments and international bodies to back experiments into manipulating the climate on a global scale to avoid catastrophic climate change.
          The scientists, who advocate geoengineering methods such as spraying millions of tonnes of reflective particles of sulphur dioxide 30 miles above earth, argue that a “plan B” for climate change will be needed if the UN and politicians cannot agree to making the necessary cuts in greenhouse gases, and say the US government and others should pay for a major programme of international research.
          Solar geoengineering techniques are highly controversial: while some climate scientists believe they may prove a quick and relatively cheap way to slow global warming, others fear that when conducted in the upper atmosphere, they could irrevocably alter rainfall patterns and interfere with the earth’s climate…”

          full article:

  1. Does this cause ocean warming (obviously on a small scale)?  Since you now have solid matter clumping together in/under the water is seems like it would absorb more infrared energy than just plain/clean seawater.   Doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to install particulate filters on the exhaust systems…(of course we see how well controls like this work for every other industry).

  2. Maggie, have you ever researched the science of sonar as applied to modern warfare? I remember having to “tag out” the sonar equipment so nobody would use it in the event divers were nearby—the sonar can concuss and kill people underwater. It’s even used as a defense against possible attacks by theoretical “enemy divers” attaching explosives to the hull. Also, the energy output by a sonar dome is so much that it literally boils the water around it. I don’t know how the dolphins survive as they swim alongside the ships as they actively ping. 

  3. Contrails contribute to global dimming and keep things cooler – I’d guess these work the same way. (meant this to be a reply to bcsizemo – messed it up somehow I think)

  4. A friend of mine at work believes in the whole “chemtrail” thing.  He came up to me one day talking about how the government was really spraying a lot today because there were so many “chemtrails” in the sky.  I looked back at him and told him they were contrails caused by jet engines and were nothing to be afraid of.  I said that I have been seeing them since I was a young kid, to which he got real wide eyed and said, “Man they’ve been spraying us for that long??”  I’m 41 btw and this conversation just happend about a month ago.

    I should show him these pictures and really push him over the edge…………

    1. Your friend may be right about some things: Contrails are frozen water condensation particles that melt typically ten seconds after being released. The DO NOT persist, spread and form FULL cloud cover. What he refers about is probably spraying of aluminium particles either for Geoengineering purposes or as additive to jet fuel (increases combustion, saw patent).
      Cntrails do not form in warm air–they form in high altitudes (remember-frozen water particles). Yet, in the same day you can see what is called Chemtrail (persistent and spreading) in very low altitude while in the same time you have five miles above (in the exact same area) a normal 10 sec lasting contrail… 

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