Livingston knows his ideas are controversial, so he steps lightly
when talking about them. His theories have been proven, the
technology is in place. Research shows his ideas could save
hundreds, maybe even thousands, of lives.
He is a fascinating man with credentials as long as the wingspan
of the airplanes he flew as a commander with the U.S. Navy in Korea
Livingston, 77, moved to Midland with his parents during the
Depression. He earned his master's degree in cloud physics from the
Naval Weapons Center and Navy Post Graduate School in California, a
degree he would use in the battlefields. He seeded clouds and
dramatically increased rainfall in his theater of war, creating
impassably muddy roads, slowing down the Vietnamese and Korean
troops, and saving lives and entire towns from occupation.
He is proudest of his award from the secretary of Navy, which
says, "Lt. Livingston directly participated in project flights in a
combat zone, in program planning, scientific data collection and
evaluation ... his unwavering devotion to duty were major factors in
the outstanding success of the project and were instrumental in the
development of a unique, major combat capability for the United
Before receiving the citation, Livingston was invited to the
White House where he briefed President Lyndon B. Johnson on the
effectiveness of weather control activities and the resulting
slowing of traffic by the military support trucks bringing supplies
to Southeast Asian troops.
Livingston's findings deal with hurricanes and what scientists
call weather modifications. His research includes 265 missions into
the eyes of hurricanes and he calls himself maybe the "most
disgusted" person in the country about Hurricane Katrina.
The storm, he says simply, could have been dramatically
curtailed, the damage minimized, the levees of New Orleans saved.
Livingston works with scientists and pilots at Weather
Modification Inc., in Fargo, N.D. His theories also have been
verified by staffers there. He has logged 15,000 hours of hurricane
reconnaissance experience and all of his penetrations into the eyes
of hurricanes were of the low-level variety -- where he would fly in
from low altitude then up and into the eye. He said the refraction
of light onto the water through the eye of a hurricane is the most
beautiful and memorable site he has ever witnessed. It was made even
more so after nightfall when the stars and moon work together.
"In the 1960s, a national priority of our government was
hurricane control," Livingston said. "Silver iodide is used as a
nuclei that causes raindrops to form. The original hypothesis is
that if you get enough rain or cool air into a hurricane you can
diminish its velocity and strength. When I left the military in the
1960s, we had the ability to do that, and reduce wind velocity in
hurricanes by 25 percent and damage caused by a hurricane by 63
Livingston said his research of hurricane control was confirmed
by the Stanford Research Institute. The program of controlling
hurricanes, though, was mysteriously dropped by the federal
government because of, as he termed it, "politics and professional
jealousy." Livingston said powerful Washington lobbies control areas
preventing the reinstatement of the hurricane-reduction program, and
when asked why it has not yet been resinstated, Livingston cites
what he calls an "industry of destruction."
Livingston said his return trip this week to the WMI in Fargo
will hopefully result in a reinstatement of his program in 2006.
Although he says hurricane control is one thing the government
should definitely be trying to do, he suggested hurricane control be
"You'd think the insurance and energy sectors would jump all over
something like this, but they're not willing to go counter to a
government agency," he said.
The hurricane control program, he said, is a "no-brainer when it
is explained in simple terms," but he admitted it would cost
millions of dollars to get off the ground.
"The bottom line is, you cannot make an argument against saving
lives and propertry," Livingston said."If it can be done, it ought
to be done."
Livingston, who does not believe global warming is to blame for
the recent spate of deadly hurricanes along the Gulf coast, said
reinstating the hurricane control program would have a greater
impact for the good of the country.
"Someone a lot smarter than I am could make a significant
contribution to our nation if they would just sit down with a
half-dozen other smart people and talk about this," Livingston