Pyres on the Appalachian mountains. Planes spraying chemicals into clouds. Mirrors in space. “I can make it rain, I can make it rain, I can make it rain…by waggling my stick”.
For more than a century, scientists, soldiers and charlatans have tried to manipulate the weather, wildly exaggerating what is possible.
Does any of it actually work?
And even if we could control the climate, should we? Whose hand would be on the thermostat?
Today we’re joined by James Fleming, a leading historian of meteorology and climate change and author of Fixing the Sky: The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control.
James helps us chart the dubious history of attempts to control the weather from the 19th century meteorologist dubbed the ‘Rain King’, to Cold War efforts to drench opposing armies, to cloud seeding at the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The episode was produced by Freddy Chick
The editor was Anisha Deva
The senior producer is Charlotte Long