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There’s no evidence that geoengineering — using technology to manipulate the environment — produced smoke that covered the U.S. Northeast in early June.
The evidence is that the smoke came from Canadian wildfires.
The Canadian wildfires were real, but the smoke that covered New York, New Jersey and Connecticut "was a planned operation in geoengineering" carried out by two governments, according to an Instagram post.
"They created a synthetic cloud covering," layered aerosols underneath it and "trapped it and maintained it for days on end," said the narrator in a video with the post.
Text in the post said the "next-to-unbreathable environmental conditions" that resulted were executed by U.S. and Canadian governmental organizations "utilizing the geoengineering system."
The post 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.)
Experts were emphatic that the smoke over the U.S. East Coast in early June came from Canadian wildfires. They said there’s no sign of geoengineering — the use of technology to manipulate the environment.
"The evidence that the smoke is connected to Canadian fires is very, very strong," said Andrew Dessler, an atmospheric sciences professor and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M University. "We know fires are occurring in Canada and we can see in satellite images the smoke being transported to the U.S. East Coast. We know what the winds are and the smoke is following that closely. There's zero evidence for any other conclusion."
As of June 14, Canada had 462 active fires burning, 236 of them considered out of control, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre. Most were caused by lightning. Canada experiences wildfires every year, but experts said this year’s wildfire season has been one of the most severe in history, made worse by drought and warmer temperatures.
Climatologists and wildfire experts said that climate change is making wildfires more frequent, severe and long-lasting.
Smoke from the wildfires moved south in early June, covering large swaths of the United States and causing poor air quality in major cities, including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Authorities issued unhealthy air warnings that affected more than 100 million people in the Northeast and to the south and west.
The Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted satellite imagery they said shows smoke from the wildfires over various regions of the U.S.
Geoengineering, as defined by the University of Oxford, means "the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change." This includes increasing the reflectiveness of clouds so that more of the sun’s heat is reflected back into space.
Kevin Trenberth, National Center of Atmospheric Research distinguished scholar, and Chris Field, director of Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, pointed to the satellite images showing smoke that came from the wildfires—and not geoengineering.
"The color, density and altitude of the haze were all consistent with wildfire smoke, not with solar geoengineering, which would be much higher in the atmosphere," Field said.
The smoke was "a huge amount of material," he said. "Producing that much material from a source other than many wildfires would have taken a lot of infrastructure, which we did not see."
Seeing no evidence that geoengineering caused the smoke, we rate the post False.
Instagram, post, June 9, 2023
Harvard University Solar Engineering Research Program, "Geoengineering," accessed June 13, 2023
University of Oxford Geoengineering Programme, "What Is Geoengineering?", accessed June 13, 2023
PolitiFact, "No evidence wildfires in Canada were set intentionally," June 8, 2023
PolitiFact, "No, this video doesn’t show that weapons ignited Canada’s wildfires," June 13, 2023
Email, Kevin Trenberth, National Center of Atmospheric Research distinguished scholar, June 13, 2023
Email, Chris Field, Stanford University Melvin and Joan Lane professor of interdisciplinary environmental studies and director of Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment, June 13, 2023
Email, Theo Stein, spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, June 14, 2023
Email, Andrew Dessler, an atmospheric sciences professor and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M University, June 13, 2023
Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "Canada Wildfires," accessed June 14, 2023
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