Looking up at the clouds, imagining shapes of fantastic creatures and scenes has been a pastime of humans since time immemorial. Now a video showing a cloud shaped in a perfect square, which is arguably the most boring shape of all, has been making the rounds on social media, leading some to link the bizarre weather phenomenon to supposed government attempts at geoengineering and weather control through the use of HAARP (High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program), the often paranoia-inducing radio installation in Alaska.
The video, claimed to be filmed in Tuscon, Arizona and posted March 23, 2018, shows a large, thick cloud covering the sky on an otherwise clear day. As the camera moves to show more of the cloud it reveals perfect 90 degree angles and well defined edges against the backdrop of blue sky. It's a noteworthy cloud, and it's understandable that it would spark curiosity.
Of course, this square cloud video could be a hoax. That's a reality in the age of easily accessible video effects tools and platforms to disseminate videos. This isn't the first time square-shaped and other strange clouds have been seen, however, and it never fails to excite curiosity and speculation. After all, clouds aren't known for their conformity to rigid geometry, and well defined angles and squares are rarely seen in nature.
Why, though, are people jumping to the immediate conclusion that this strange weather phenomenon is due to HAARP and not something else? Is it merely because of HAARP's notoriety and the fact that its name sounds like a comic book super-weapon, or are there specifics of the HAARP research program that would account for these mysterious clouds?
The video in question is on YouTube. Warning: spooky music.
HAARP is a research facility consisting of an array of high frequency transmitters in Gakona, Alaska. The facility was built in 1993 with the express purpose (as the HAARP FAQ explains) of artificially inducing rare weather phenomena, to better study otherwise obscure and unpredictable atmospheric events.
HAARP uses high-frequency radio transmissions to heat targeted areas of the ionosphere to artificially replicate disturbances that are found in nature. HAARP's website lists a select few of the phenomena that can be replicated:
With a facility like HAARP, it is possible to perform an experiment at will to create plasma structures and irregularities, use the ionosphere like an antenna to excite low frequency waves, create weak luminous aurora-like glows and a variety of other experiments.
OK, so it's definitely a weird facility. It's too bad the "variety of other experiments" are not elaborated on, though it probably wouldn't reveal much. HAARP denies that they're hiding a weather control machine up in the frozen north, and they deny that the installation could be at all used to control the weather:
Radio waves in the frequency ranges that HAARP transmits are not absorbed in either the troposphere or the stratosphere—the two levels of the atmosphere that produce Earth’s weather. Since there is no interaction, there is no way to control the weather.
The HAARP system is basically a large radio transmitter. Radio waves interact with electrical charges and currents, and do not significantly interact with the troposphere.
That doesn't stop the speculation though. Government research into weather manipulation is a real thing, according to the CIA, and if HAARP had nothing to do with these strange clouds then they're probably kicking themselves for putting this in their FAQ:
When Is the Next Scheduled Research Campaign?