Perplexing reports of unusual weather conditions are coming in from around the world. What are the causes? Are crop failures, famines and food wars predictable for the immediate future? How will they affect you? What can you do about it?
A growing body of evidence has shocked scientists into awareness that worldwide weather patterns are changing. It has happened before. Climates have left their mark on geology from earliest times. Weather has sculptured the face of the earth, buried forest and wiped out whole species of animal life. It has influenced the migrations of man and caused nations to rise and fall. Circumstances are somewhat different now, through. More human beings are on earth than ever before. The potential for human suffering due to climatic fluctuations is consequently greater. And new factors spawned by worldwide industrialization are involved in causing weather changes. What we call weather is normally produced by temperature differences and interaction of sunlight, land masses, air, water and ice caps. When something interferes with the balance of these elements, "abnormal" weather is the result. One clearly understood factor capable of creating rapid climate changes is the eruption of volcanoes, which spew out large quantities of debris. The dust can remain suspended high in the atmosphere for long periods of time, filtering out sunlight over vast areas, causing a loss of heat, which in turn affects climate. Not fully understood is the role the sunspots and interplanetary electro-magnetic / gravitational forces play on our weather. Man, too, is a factor in changing earth's climates. We are all aware of how we attempt to modify our localized environment by development of dwellings, fireplaces, fans, central heating, air-conditioning, humidifiers, green houses-yes, even basic clothing. All these are efforts to regulate climate zones. But man's modern impact on climate extends for beyond his immediate surroundings. In 1971 a group of eminent scientists from around the world took part in the Report of the Study of Man's Impact on Climate (SMIC), sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their findings: "There can be little doubt that man, in the process of reshaping his environment in many ways, has changed the climate of large regions of the earth, and he has probably had some influence on global climate as well." The report lists pollution of the atmosphere as one of the most clearly evident influences of man on the environment. Both as a result of industrial activity and the burning of crops and vegetation, particulate matter hangs in the atmosphere. There it interferes ' with solar and infrared radiation. In other words, this man-made interference affects the heat balance, which in turn causes climatic variation. Modern transportation modes contribute significantly to upsetting the heat balance. First of course are additional amounts of pollution emitted into the air from exhausts of planes, autos, trucks, trains and ships. Second, vast areas of land surface have been covered by pavement and asphalt. These man-made coverings have altered the degree to which the land reflects or absorbs the sun's heat. Dr. Reid Bryson, well-known climatologist of the Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin, sees a definite connection between man-made dust in the atmosphere, our modern urban way of life and changing weather patterns. Echoing the SMIC report about the effect of industrial and transportation pollution, he points out that the dust from fires set by Third World farmers to clear their land is more significant than we might think, "The smoke of slash-and-burn agriculture accounts for perhaps one tenth to one fifth of all the material humans put into the atmosphere." The SMIC report also points out that the methods people have chosen to use for thousands of years in agricultures and animal grazing have modified large regions of the world. Parts of Africa and Southwest Asia have been reduced to semideserts by overgrazing domestic animals.
Any nation able to control the weather would have the ultimate weapon to use against an enemy nation in time of war.
In Europe, the Mediterranean area, the Eastern United States and the mountainous areas from Turkey to Afghanistan, as well as the tropics, dense forests have been cut. "The net result is the some 20 percent of the total area of the continents has been drastically changed, with a consequent change in the heat and water budget." Man has attempted to remedy arid and semiarid conditions by pumping up increasingly scarce reserves of ground water to be used in irrigation. Irrigation and man-made lakes affect the heat budget by adding water vapor to the air. The influence of artificial lakes, diverted rivers and drained swamps is also significant locally because of the effect the water vs land ratio has on the heat balance. In the book Climates of Hunger (Bryson-Murray), the many ways big cities affect climate are described. Pollution of city air is only one of the modifying influences. Others are the replacement of green and open spaces by pavement, asphalt and tall buildings, which absorb sun energy at a high rate. Air above cities is constantly being artificially warmed by man's activities: Heat from car, truck and bus engines, home furnaces, air conditioners and power plants. Then there are the storm sewers and drainage canals, which quickly get rid of large quantities of water that would otherwise absorb into the soil and be evaporated out again by the sun. Apart from the pollution aspect of automobiles and planes, the sheer physical movement of large amounts of air by so many speeding vehicles may have a local effect on the atmosphere. We may add to the list of suspected weather modifying agents, aerosol sprays, high-flying rockets and atmospheric bomb explosions.
But the story doesn't stop with accidentally influencing the climate. For years experiments have been conducted to deliberately change weather. Probably the most popular device so far has been cloud seeding to induce rain. Other methods have been tried with varying degrees of success. More plans are on the drawing boards. Experimentation continues. Dependable weather is a necessity. It means food. Ruined crops mean scarcer food, higher prices- even food wars. If man can control his climate, it is reasoned, he can control his food supply. And besides, any nation able to control the weather would have the ultimate weapon to use against an enemy nation in time of war. The problem is that when efforts are made to alter the weather, nobody really knows what he is dealing with. The atmosphere surrounding our globe is more delicate than scientists at first realized. An outspoken view is that of Joseph F. Goodavage in Our Threatened Planet. After chiding weather modification experts for their "Let's-try-this-and-see-what-happens" attitude, he blames a rash of recent record shattering weather extremes on what they have already done. He fears that what we've seen so far is a sample of what could happen once the ability to manipulate the weather is sufficiently advanced to make it possible to deliberately change the climate. "And you can bet that if it can be done, someone is almost certain to try it," he concludes.
So far we have considered natural and human factors responsible for influencing weather. But there is another dimension beyond the physical. There is a great God who created all that exists. He formulated and set in motion laws that regulate earth's climate. When human beings interfere with those laws, they suffer the consequences of their meddling-upset weather. Droughts, floods, windstorms and other violent climatic manifestations • cannot always be laid to quirks of nature. Mankind has done and is doing his share to bring them on himself. The end-time prophecy in Hosea 8:7 certainly must include tampering with the weather among man's misdirected endeavors when it declares, "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind"! God is not only in charge of the weather by means of the laws He has set in motion. He directly intervenes when He sees fit and uses the weather to punish or bless human beings for their actions. In the biblical book of Job, we have the story of a man who thought too highly of himself. Job was proud of his accomplishments. He epitomized the pride of human beings in their abilities. God had to humble. Job. One of the ways God proved that His abilities are vastly superior to those of Job-and to those of all mankind-is that He has absolute control over the weather. "God lets us see his wonders; great things he does, beyond our ken. He bids the snow fall... also the heavy rains... storms blow... and cold comes... the ice forms at his breath... from the cloud his lightning scatters, darting here and there, turning as he directs it, doing whate'er he bids it over all his world, either smiting with a curse, or sent in mercy." All this God has the power to do. He continues to humble Job by asking: "Have you ever entered the stores of the snow? Have you seen the arsenals of the hail-the hail I keep for stormy days, for battery and assault? How are the mists marshalled, that scatter fresh water on the earth?"
A good climate is one of the blessings God would have given to any nation that would follow His ways.
Yes, God can use the weather as a weapon. He gives orders to the elements as a general orders his troops. In contrast to God's power, here is the challenge to man: "Can you control the skies? Can you prescribe their sway over the earth? Can you send orders to the clouds, for water in abundance to be yours? Can you send out the lightning on its mission? Does it say humbly to you 'Here am I'?" (Job 37:5-7, 9-13; 38:22-24, 33-34, Moffatt translation.) Future divine intervention in already upset meteorological conditions will play a prominent part in the tumultuous events bringing this age to a close, as many biblical prophecies reveal. The result will be weather disturbances of catastrophic proportions. We should consider one other possible source of some manifestations of "freakish" weather. There is a powerful spirit being who is the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). The account in the first chapter of Job indicates that, when God permits it, this powerful spirit-Satan-can use atmospheric phenomena to wreak havoc. Freak weather will most certainly be part of the "great wrath" with which Satan will afflict the inhabitants of the earth. (See Revelation 12:12.) As the effects of so many forces come together here at the end of the age, what hope can the individual have for safety from all the cataclysmic upheavals to befall our planet? Only one: the protection God gives to those who obey His laws. He is "a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat" (Isaiah 25:4).
Coming: True Weather Control
A good climate is one of the blessings God would have given to any nation that would follow His ways and submit to His government. He promised, "If you obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments... all these blessings shall come upon you... the Lord will open to you his good treasury the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season" (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12, Revised Standard Version). Of course, no nation has taken God up on the promise. So no nation has the right to expect dependable, seasonal weather. In the world tomorrow it will be different. When the violent weather conditions accompanying the end of this age are wreaking their destruction, Jesus Christ will return to rule the world. Under His government all nations will be forced to live at peace. They will submit to God's government. At the beginning there may be some stubborn nations that will have to be persuaded to submit to God's rule. One of the ways this will be done is through divine climate control! Notice in Zechariah 14:16 that those nations which survive the coming holocaust will, under Christ's government, be directed to go up to Jerusalem annually to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. What if some of them refuse? "And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain" (verse 17). God has the power to bring this about. Eventually everyone will see the benefits of God's ways. As they do, the prophecy of Ezekiel will, come to pass: "And, I the Lord, will be their God... I will make them... a blessing... I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit and the earth shall yield its increase" (Ezekiel 34:24, 26-27, RSV).