Wild conspiracy accuses 'secret lab of controlling the weather'

·News Editor
·3-min read

A lab in the US state of Alaksa has long been shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding.

In an isolated area of Gakona is the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), an institute that studies the behaviour of the ionosphere. 

There have been many questions about the lab, which is part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), with some even claiming it is controlling the weather. 

HAARP has been the subject of conspiracy theories ever since the US military started building it in the early 1990s.

The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program facility has been shrouded in mystery. Source: Google Maps
The High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program facility has been shrouded in mystery. Source: Google Maps

HAARP has a number of scientific instruments on its campus, but the one that continues to capture the imagination of conspiracy theorists is the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), the world’s most powerful high-frequency radio transmitter.

The former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, claims HAARP is a mind-control device. 

Others say it can control the weather, with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez saying it was used to create the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake.

How true really are these claims?

Futurist Dr Richard Hames told Yahoo News Australia people did not understand the science the facility was studying, raising suspicion and doubts.

"It's quite an open facility," he said as part of the Conspiracies Unpacked series.

"The experiments are very, very legitimate in terms of global positioning, trying to improve the accuracy of the devices we use in our cars or phones for example, and they've been fairly successful.

"But there's no secret about that facility at all."

Dr Hames said a conspiracy theory that a human controlled the weather was not plausible. 

"The world is getting hotter, and we know why that is, there's more carbon dioxide in the air and humans are the cause of that," he said.

"So we are changing the climate, we're not controlling it, we're changing it, and that is causing the fluctuations we're having in weather.

"Weather systems are hugely chaotic systems and that chaos means that you can, if you were able to change a few of the initial conditions of say a hurricane, then you could alter perhaps its severity of direction but you've got no control of it.

"You can initiate a change, but you couldn't control it." 

Dr Hames said if controlling the weather was possible, it could be used to help agricultural communities who have been suffering from the drought for example and could even be used as a weapon. 

Truth behind mysterious lab

Chris Fallen, a UAF research assistant professor, said in a statement published on the university's website the research facility attracted more attention than other research facilities because of its focus on an obscure area of the atmosphere called the ionosphere. 

"This has led to misunderstandings about the purpose of the HAARP facility," he said. 

"HAARP cannot control the weather, contrary to one conspiracy theory. It has too little power and affects a different part of the atmosphere. 

"Neither can it manipulate our brains, as alleged by another theory."

The University of Alaska Fairbanks claims the facility does not control the weather. Source: UAF
The University of Alaska Fairbanks claims the facility does not control the weather. Source: UAF

The statement said what HAARP could do, was heat small parts of the ionosphere and observe the affect it has. 

"Often HAARP research is conducted during campaigns where scientists gather and operate the facility's ionospheric heating instrument to conduct experiments for a few hours each over the course of several days."

In order to finally debunk rumours surrounding the lab, it opened its doors to the public in 2016 to teach people more about their research. 

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