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Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher August 23, 2023

No evidence that a video showing planes leaving a trail was weather-modifying ‘geoengineering’

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  • A video claimed to show military planes spreading materials for "geoengineering." 

  • We found no evidence of any such weather-modifying activity.

A TikTok video labeled "" showed what a narrator claimed were three U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemasters over Nashville, Tennessee, on Dec. 20, 2019, "dispersing materials into the atmosphere" for climate "geoengineering."

Such operations "are nothing short of weather and biological warfare against completely unsuspecting populations all over the world," the narrator said.

An Aug. 9 Facebook post sharing the video was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

We found no evidence to support the claim. 

An Air Force Air Mobility Command spokesperson told PolitiFact the command had no record of C-17s in the Nashville area on Dec. 20, 2019, but said it is possible that training missions by other aircraft could have been conducted over Nashville then.

Since at least 2014, the Air Force has called claims that its planes spray the U.S. population "with mysterious substances" a "hoax."

Geoengineering manipulates the Earth’s environment to offset some effects of climate change. For example, cloud brightening, or putting sunshades in space, could increase Earth’s reflectivity, reduce incoming solar radiation and curb increasing greenhouse gas concentration.

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In June, the White House released a congressionally mandated report on one type of geoengineering — solar radiation modification — which seeks to reduce the Earth’s temperature by reflecting more sunlight back into space. The report supported studying solar radiation modification, but the White House said "there are no plans underway to establish a comprehensive research program focused on solar radiation modification." 

The video shared on Facebook was posted along with an article on alleging visual "confirmation" of planes spreading materials for climate engineering. 

Neither cited evidence to support the claim that the Air Force dispersed materials into the air for geoengineering. 

PolitiFact could not determine the origin of the video’s images, nor whether the video consisted of one or more pieces of footage.

A Nashville police spokesperson said she knew of no such incident.

Absent evidence to back the claim, we rate it False.

PolitiFact staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

RELATED: Claim that U.S. government is spraying ‘toxic brew of chemicals’ from airplanes is a conspiracy

Our Sources

Facebook, post, Aug. 9, 2023, "Climate Engineering, New Film Footage Confirmation," Jan. 9, 2020

Air Force, "Contrails facts," July 2014

Interview, Nashville Police Department spokesperson, Aug. 18, 2023

Email, Air Force Air Mobility Command 1st Lt. James Stewart, Aug. 23, 2023

PolitiFact, "Claim that U.S. government is spraying ‘toxic brew of chemicals’ from airplanes is a conspiracy," Feb. 2, 2022

The White House, "Congressionally mandated research plan and an initial research governance framework related to solar radiation modification," June 2023

The White House, "Congressionally-Mandated Report on Solar Radiation Modification," June 30, 2023

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No evidence that a video showing planes leaving a trail was weather-modifying ‘geoengineering’

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