White lines in the sky are not ‘chemtrails’

27 May 2022
What was claimed

Pictures of white vapour trails in the sky show chemtrails used for geoengineering.

Our verdict

This is not true. These white lines are contrails, formed when water vapour from aircraft engines freezes at high altitudes.

A post on Facebook shares several pictures of long white vapour trails, which it claims are “chemtrails, geo engineering all the sky”.

This is false. As we’ve said before, lines like these are not evidence of the chemtrails conspiracy theory. They are contrails, formed when water vapour from aircraft engines freezes at high altitudes.

The post includes eight photographs of contrails and a caption that contains the following passage: “planes flying overhead spraying all my blue-sky day away, spraying out the sun milking out the sky, aerosols and altitudes and atmospheric highs....... Jet planes making chemtrails, geo engineering all the sky”.

But this is not what the images show. The white trails in the blue sky are ice or water vapour, not poisons or geoengineering materials, as the chemtrails conspiracy claims.

Contrails are long thin lines of cloud which are formed when water vapour produced at high altitudes by aeroplane engines freezes as it is released into the cold air surrounding the aeroplane.

Depending on the humidity of the air, the resulting ice crystals either disappear from view after a few minutes, or remain as droplets or crystals, creating the white lines often seen in the sky.

Geoengineering is an idea defined by the Met Office as “deliberate large-scale manipulation of climate”. One possible form of geoengineering is Solar Radiation Modification, which could involve injecting aerosols high into the atmosphere.

This form of geoengineering is a theoretical possibility, however, and beyond proposed small-scale experiments, it is not something that is already taking place.

Image courtesy of Michael C.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the images do not show “chemtrails” left behind by aeroplanes, but clouds of ice crystals known as contrails.

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