A Review of the Israeli Cloud Seeding Experience in the Context of the 2023 Israel 4 Null Primary Result


I have written an extensive,  “comment” and “enhancement” of an article by Benjamini et al.  published in the in J. Appl. Meteor.  in January 2023.  The article was about the results of a fourth randomized Israeli cloud seeding experiment, Israel-4.   My “comments” and “enhancement” of Benjamini et al. (2023) posted below would never be published in an Amer. Meteor. Soc. journal.  The words are too strong.  So, I am going this route, a blog post.

Evidence for such a contentious assertion?  Prior experience.

I submitted a paper on the history of Israeli cloud seeding in 2018.  The journal, the Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc. (BAMS) got but two reviews:  “Accept, important paper, minor revisions” by one Israeli scientist, and the second review, an outright “reject” in  a long review by an Israeli seeding partisan who signed his review. The chief editor of BAMS did not allow me  to revise my manuscript where needed (minor corrections),  nor rebut  the many specious comments by the seeding partisan.

Why is this behavior by the chief editor of BAMS outrageous and in non-compliance with our science ideals?

Replying to the comments of reviewers of manuscripts following peer-review is standard procedure in science after which a final decision on publication is then reached by the editor based on the responses of the author and the revisions made in the submitted manuscript.  This is exactly the process that Prof. Dave Schultz, Chief Editor of the Amer. Meteor. Soc. journal, The Monthly Weather Review,  and I are going through right now with a cloud seeding manuscript on the Colorado River Basin Pilot Project sub omitted to the AMS’ J. Appl. Meteor. and Climate (as of January 2024).

As an acknowledged expert on Israeli clouds, weather, and cloud seeding (e.g., Rangno 1988, Rangno and Hobbs 1995a), I deemed this refusal by the BAMS Chief Editor to allow me to respond to the comments of the two reviewers the sign of a corrupted journal process within the Amer. Meteor. Soc.:  Certain stories about failed science are not to be told, especially if they involve a country people have strong feelings about, as in this case.   My 2018 history describes unimaginably inadequate peer-reviews of the original published reports, those describing ripe for  seeding  clouds and the cloud seeding statistical “successes” that were all scientific mirages crafted by cloud seeding partisans.

The manuscript below has the same elements as the 2018 submission thus guaranteeing its rejection by a partisan AMS leadership.  But I feel strongly that certain things need to be said, and questions asked, to stop seeding partisans in Israel from costing their country so much in wasted cloud seeding efforts as they have over so many decades.  Sound implausible?  Read on…..

Despite what might be considered some “harsh” language at times, I consider myself a friend of Israel and donate to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, an organization that regularly counters the negative descriptions of Israel in much of the media today in their “Myth vs. Facts” segments.

=========THE MANUSCRIPT==========


The result of a fourth long-term randomized cloud seeding experiment in Israel, Israel-4, has been reported by Benjamini et al. 2023.  The seven-season randomized cloud seeding experiment ended in 2020 with a non-statistically significant result on rainfall (a suggested increase in rain of 1.8%).  This review puts the results of Israel-4 in the context of prior independent reanalyses of Israel-1 and -2,  reanalyses that can be said to have anticipated a null result of both the Israel-4 experiment and the lack of evidence that rain had been increased in the 30 plus years of the operational cloud seeding program targeting the Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) watershed discovered in 2006 by an independent panel of Israeli experts.  The published literature that overturned the reports of success in the first two experiments, Israel-1 and Israel-2, was omitted by Benjamini et al., and thus, misled readers concerning those first two experiments.

The lack of cloud seeding success in Israel can be attributed to unsuitable clouds for seeding purposes, ones that form prolific concentrations of natural ice at relatively slight to moderate supercoolings which preclude seeding successes using glaciogenic seeding agents.

The phenomenon of “one-sided citing,” practiced by Benjamini et al. via the omission of relevant contrary literature is addressed.   Several corrections to and enhancements of the Benjamini et al. article are also included.


  1. Introduction and Background

The results of the first two randomized crossover cloud seeding experiments in Israel, Israel-1 and Israel-2, discussed recently by Benjamini et al. 2023, as well as the descriptions of “ripe for seeding” clouds in Israel by the seeding experimenters, had an important role in the history of cloud seeding.   For many years it appeared that the viability of cloud seeding to have produced economically important amounts of rain had been established in those two “crossover” experiments conducted by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ) (e.g., Kerr 1982, Mason 1982, Dennis 1989).  In descriptions of the first two benchmark experiments, ones that created the scientific consensus described above, Benjamini et al.  (2023, hereafter, “B23,”) do not tell the whole story in their history of cloud seeding in Israel that preceded their evaluation of Israel-4.

This review is meant to fill in the gaps for the reader left by B23 about those first two experiments that had so much practical impact.  For example, the Israel National Water Authority (INWA) began a several decades-long operational cloud seeding of the watersheds around Lake Kinneret (aka, Sea of Galilee) based on the seemingly favorable results of Israel-1 and those in the “confirmatory” Israel-2 experiment that followed (Gabriel 1967a; b; Neumann et al. 1967; Wurtele 1971; Gagin and Neumann 1974; 1976).  The INWA began seeding Lake Kinneret’s watersheds in November through April, beginning with the 1975/76, the winter season that immediately followed the end of Israel-2.

The statistical results of Israel-1 and -2 were backed by several cloud microstructure reports over the years that underpinned the idea that rain could be increased substantially by seeding Israel’s clouds (e.g., Gagin 1975, 1981, 1986, Gagin and Neumann 1974, 1976, 1981).  These reports caused Science magazine’s reporter, Richard Kerr,  to proclaim in 1982 that those first two Israeli experiments constituted the “One success in 35 years” of cloud seeding experimentation.  Kerr (1982) also wrote:

The Israeli II1 data must still be reanalyzed by other statisticians, but most researchers are also impressed that the results make so much physical sense.  The clouds that Gagin and Neumann hypothesized would be most susceptible to seeding did indeed produce the most additional rain after seeding.”

These statements are compatible with the history that B23 have provided, but it was to be far from the end of the “story.”

Fifteen years after Israel-2 had been completed it was learned that the random seeding of the south target clouds of Israel-2, a crossover experiment as Israel-1 had been, produced the indication that cloud seeding had decreased rainfall by a substantial amount, 15% (Gabriel and Rosenfeld 1990)2.  Gagin and Neumann (1981), however, had claimed that the random seeding that took place in the south target was “non-experimental” and so did not report the results of random seeding there.  No one challenged this claim. 

Until 1981 the result of seeding in the south target seeding had been described as “inconclusive” (Gagin and Neumann 1976), and prior to that, by (Gagin and Neumann 1974) after the first two seasons of Israel-2, that seeding had resulted in a seed/no seed average rainfall fraction in the south target that was “less than 1,” suggesting rain might have been decreased on seeded days.

However, the crossover evaluation of seeding in Israel-2 was not reported until Gabriel and Rosenfeld (1990)2.  The design document, approved by the Israeli Rain Committee and completed before Israel-2 began had, however, mandated a crossover evaluation (Silverman 2001) as had been done for Israel-1.  Nowhere did Gagin (1981) or Gagin and Neumann (1974, 1976, 1981) explain why they did not perform the mandated crossover evaluation of Israel-2.

Instead of Israel-2 crossover evaluation replicating Israel-1, where seeding appeared to have increased rainfall by about 15% when the data from both targets was combined (e.g., Wurtele 1971), the crossover evaluation of Israel-2 indicated a slight decrease in rainfall of 2% (not statistically significant).  Thus, Israel-2 had not replicated Israel-1 in an important way.

But results of Israel-2 were complex, as noted by Gabriel and Rosenfeld (1990) and left questions that they could not resolve.  The most revealing statement in Gabriel and Rosenfeld (1990) in reporting the “full” results of Israel-2 was this enigma (my italics and bold font):

There is a surprising contradiction between this finding and those of the analyses of Tables 4-17.  The difference occurs because the historical comparison of Table 18 ignores the unusually high south precipitation on north-seeded days (as well as the north precipitation on south-seeded days).  In other words, it is what happened when there was no seeding that causes the differences between the two analyses. The different choice of “control” days for the south, whether all the rainy days of 1949-60 or the north-seeded days of 1969-75, is what crucially affects the comparison.  If such large differences-of a magnitude of several standard errors and clearly significant by the usual statistical criteria-occur by chance, then chance operates in unexpected ways on precipitation and historical comparisons become highly suspect (see also Gabriel and Petrondas 1983). Otherwise, one would need to explain why there was so much more rain in the south when the north was being seeded; as of now, no explanation is available, especially as the prevailing wind direction is from the southwest.”

A “Type I statistical error,” the “good draw,” in Israel-2, heavy rains that affected both targets on north target seeded days3, was there for all to see if they wanted to.

Thus, a severe blow to the idea of randomizing cloud seeding experiments occurred in Israel-2 due to the exceptional random draw described by Gagin and Rosenfeld (1990).  Randomization could produce wildly unrepresentative results in which slight, but important, rain increases due to seeding could be forever hidden.

The null result of the combined targets in Israel-2 was due to an apparent decrease in rainfall on seeded days in the south target (~15%) that canceled out apparent increases in rainfall (~13%) in the north target.   Despite the new result and the many questions it raised, the INWA continued the commercial-like seeding of the Lake Kinneret watersheds during the winter rain seasons for more than 20 years after Gabriel and Rosenfeld’s (1990) disclosure of the “full” results of Israel-2.

The continuation of seeding of Lake Kinneret watersheds in northern Israel by the INWA despite the Israel-2 null result may have been due to the hypothesis put forward by Rosenfeld and Farbstein (1992)4; “dust/haze” had interfered with seeding in Israel -2 by creating high natural ice particle concentrations in supercooled clouds and that the presence of “dust/haze” even resulted in collisions with coalescence-formed rain (“the warm rain” process) that does not require the ice phase.  These cloud attributes, they concluded, meant there could be no increases in rainfall due to cloud seeding in the south target nor in the north target when dust/haze was present.  Without “dust/haze,” Rosenfeld and Farbstein argued, the clouds of Israel were as ripe as ever for cloud seeding.

2).    The Motivation for a Reanalysis of Israel-1 and Israel-2

The publication and the hypothesis of Rosenfeld and Farbstein (1992) formed the motivation for the Rangno and Hobbs 1995, hereafter RH95a) reanalyses of Israel-1 and -2.  This writer had spent 11 winter weeks in Israel in 1986 studying the rain-producing characteristics of Israeli clouds and felt Rosenfeld and Farbstein’s hypothesis had little credibility;  a full independent review of Israel-1 and -2 was needed as had been suggested in Science magazine (Kerr 1982).  And it would be done by someone who knew the clouds and weather of Israel (Rangno 1983, rejected by the J. Appl. Meteor.; Rangno (1988), Rangno and Hobbs (1988, hereafter, RH88).

I am also experienced in exposing suspect cloud seeding claims in the published literature (e.g., Hobbs and Rangno 1978, 1979, Rangno 1979, 1986, Rangno and Hobbs 1980a, b, 1981, 1987, 1993, 1995b).  By the time I began reanalyzing the Israeli experiments in 1992 I had also logged more than 400 flights for the University of Washington’s Cloud and Aerosol Group in studies that mostly concerned ice crystaldevelopment in slightly supercooled clouds in polar air masses similar to those that affect Israel (Rangno and Hobbs 1983, 1991, 1994, Hobbs and Rangno 1985, 1990).

3).   The results of the Rangno and Hobbs (1995) benchmark reanalyses of Israel-1 and Israel-2 that went uncited by B23

RH95 concluded that neither Israel-1 nor Israel-2 had produced bona fide increases in rain on seeded days, contradicting the HUJ experimenters’ reports and those contained in B23 that cloud seeding had increased rain in each of these experiments.  The conclusions of RH95 were given support by Silverman (2001) and later, for Israel-2, by Levin et al. (2010).

Moreover, in R88 it was strongly indicated that the “ripe for seeding” clouds described repeatedly by the experimenters (e.g., Gagin and Neumann 1974, 1976, 1981, Gagin 1975, 1981, 1986) did not exist.   The findings in R88 concerning shallow clouds that rained was not news to Israel Meteorological Service forecasters with whom I spoke nor to the Israeli experiments’ “Chief Meteorologist,” Mr. Karl Rosner.  Mr. Rosner wrote to me in 1987 that, “sometimes heavy rain fell from clouds with tops at -8°C.”  Thus, in contrast to the many HUJ experimenters’ reports cited previously, it was widely known by weather forecasters in Israel that rain fell regularly from clouds with tops >-10°C (~3-4 km thick clouds) as was documented in R88.

The HUJ experimenters had also reported, contrary to the above,  that many clouds with radar measured tops between -15°C and -21°C did not precipitate naturally due to a lack of ice in them or that precipitation formed by “warm rain” (collisions with coalescence) process (e.g., Gagin 1981, 1986) did not occur.  Those non-precipitating clouds in this low radar top temperature range were responsible for extra-large increases (46%) in rain on seeded days  (Gagin and Neumann 1981, Gagin and Gabriel 1987).

Seeding, they also reported, had no effect on naturally precipitating clouds, a finding compatible with the “static” seeding method carried out by the HUJ experimenters where small amounts of the seeding agent,  silver iodide are released.   Namely, when seeding took place, it rained for more hours on seeded days than on control days, but it did not rain harder.

B23 also refer to the Israel-2 low radar top temperature partition as having been associated with increases in rain.


Is it possible that Israeli weather forecasters and the “chief meteorologist” of the Israeli cloud seeding experiments had a better idea of which clouds rained in Israel than those whose research careers at the HUJ depended on reliable assessments of their own clouds and their cloud seeding potential?   Ans.  Probably not.


This writer, while welcomed at the Israel Meteorological Service in January 1986, was denied access to the seeding experimenters’ radar on the grounds of Ben Gurion AP to obtain echo heights  by the leader of the Israeli experiments, Prof. A. Gagin.  He insisted in our meeting that my monitoring of top heights would only confirm his cloud reports; that it took deep and very cold-topped clouds to rain in Israel.

It was also learned during January 1986 at about this same time that no less than six attempts had been proposed by outside groups to do airborne studies of the seemingly unique clouds of Israel, as shown in RH88, ones that had responded so well to cloud seeding (Personal communication, Prof. Gabor Vali, University of Wyoming, 31 January 1986).  Every one of those attempts to study Israeli clouds had been blocked.

Why?  And by whom?

  1. More about Rangno and Hobbs (1995): the most controversial and commented on paper ever published in an Amer. Meteor. Soc. journal and the unusual strategy used by the editor in choosing reviewers

 In a moment of brilliance (in retrospect), the editor for our journal manuscript, L. Randall Koenig, chose three reviewers who would be sure to reject the RH95a manuscript and its negative findings concerning cloud seeding.  But at the same time, Koenig realized that there would be no easy pass on it; no stone would go unturned by the reviewers, and our findings would be severely tested.  In fact, RH95 was significantly better for having cloud seeding partisans, H. Orville, W. Woodley, and D. Rosenfeld, review it (all signed their reviews).

Editor Koenig, himself an expert on weather modification and cloud microphysics (e.g., Koenig 1963, 1977, 1984), was also steeped in the long record of frequent mischief by those in the cloud seeding domain, weighed the arguments of the reviewers and the modifications of RH95a that reflected the reviewers’ criticisms:  He made the choice to publish RH95a.

It took courage for Editor Koenig to do that and recognizing who he felt had the better arguments.  In RH95a were the first two independent re-analyses of Israel-1 and Israel-2, as had been recommended years earlier in Kerr (1982) but ones that were clearly not going to take place.   How many other papers in our journals would be the improved and bogus claims eliminated if editors used the strategy of of Koenig and were as informed about the topic of the manuscript?

Perhaps due to the size of the ox being gored, our paper drew comments by the reviewers of our manuscript and others (1997a, b, c, d, e).   The number of journal pages involved in “Comments” and “Replies” on a single article is still a record for an Amer. Meteor. Soc. journal.   We draw particular attention to our “Replies” to the many, as we showed, specious “Comments” of Dr. Rosenfeld in RH97a and RH97b, and a B23 co-author.

Let the reader decide where truth lies.  We urge the reader to carefully review RH95a and our replies for the considerable evidence we present that the Israel-1 and Israel-2 experiments were both mirages of cloud seeding successes, contrary to the assertions in B23.

  1. Israel-3: enhancing B23’s description

B23 describe the results of the longest randomized cloud seeding experiment ever conducted, Israel-3 (1975-1995), a single target experiment.  However, they omit informing the reader that the remarkable “inconclusive” result was a suggested 9% decrease in rainfall on seeded days compared to non-seeded days (Rosenfeld 1998).  By omitting the sign of the null result, B23 left the reader to speculate on what the sign of the “null” result was.  The suggestion of a decrease in rain on seeded days again points to clouds naturally form precipitation very efficiently in Israel.  With the result of Israel -3 in hand, the reader would now learn, with Israel-2 (Gabriel and Rosenfeld 1990), that over a period of 25 plus years (Israel-2 and Israel-3 combined) decreases in rainfall due to seeding were suggested in central and southern Israel by cloud seeding!

  1. Rectifying B23’s statement concerning operational seeding

B23 state the increase in rainfall during the operational seeding, 1975/76 winter to 1990 reported by Nirel and Rosenfeld (1995) was “6-11%.”  In the abstract of the quoted article, the authors state that rainfall due to cloud seeding was increased by 6%, not “6-11%.”  This same increase in rain (6%) was also quoted by Sharon et al. (2008).

Moreover, the 6% increase in rain (said to be statistically significant by Nirel and Rosenfeld 1995) was not confirmed by Kessler et al. (2006) in their independent evaluation of operational seeding through the same period.  The independent panel reported 4.8% suggested rain enhancement over the same period evaluated by Nirel and Rosenfeld (Figure 1). 

Figure 1. The results of operational seeding on the watersheds of Lake Kinneret (aka, Sea of Galilee) as reported by Kessler et al. 2006.  (a) is that result of seeding on rainfall reported by Nirel and Rosenfeld (1995), b-d are the results found for various periods, including the very same era evaluated by Nirel and Rosenfeld (1995)5.

  1. What triggered the formation of an independent panel to evaluate cloud seeding?

The panel was created after RH95a was published and then followed by extensive journal exchanges by RH97a, b, c, d, e, in “Replies” to various “Comments” in 1997.  The INWA was then inspired to form an independent panel of experts due to these exchanges to evaluate what they were getting from the operational seeding of Lake Kinneret’s (aka, Sea of Galilee) watersheds rather than relying on the evaluations by the seeding promoters at the HUJ (e.g., Nirel and Rosenfeld 1995).  The results found by the panel are shown in Figure 1.

Should the lack of seeding results after 1990 shown in Figure 1 surprise?  I don’t think so.  This sequence of optimistic claims by seeding experimenters concerning their own experiments followed by reanalyses by external skeptics that find the original claims were “scientific mirages” (Foster and Huber 1997, Judging Science) is a pathology within the cloud seeding realm that has dogged it since its earliest days (e.g., Brier and Enger 1952, versus MacCready 1952).

In view of Figure 1, one must ask, “What if there had been no RH95a”?

We suspect that not citing our independent re-analyses of Israel-1 and Israel-2, Silverman’s (2001) conclusions concerning the first two Israeli experiments, and Wurtele (1971) who first drew the attention to a major red flag in Israel-1, combined with the fact that the HUJ experimenters failed to even understand the precipitating nature of their own clouds for decades with all the tools at their command, all pose monumental science embarrassments for Israel, their scientists, and for the prestigious HUJ from which the faulty reports emanated.

Can there be other reasons for not citing the work of external, foreign workers who overturned benchmark experimental science by the home country’s scientists?

  1. Did the background airborne microphysical measurements that preceded Israel-4 justify a new experiment?

B23 cite Freud et al. (2015) as having demonstrated cloud seeding potential in the mountainous north region of Israel through a series of airborne flights; but did it support the idea of strong cloud seeding potential as B23 assert?


I was not asked to review Freud et al. 2015, as one might have expected given my background.  Nevertheless, I carried out a post publication “comprehensive review” that can be found under 2017 here.

Freud et al. 2015 was a “Jekyll and Hyde” read; some of the best reporting by the HUJ’s cloud seeding unit was contained in it.  But it also contained misleading statements.  My recommendation after reading what I considered to be a strongly biased study that was going to mislead the INWA concerning cloud seeding potential: “Don’t do a cloud seeding experiment in northern Israel based on the research of Freud et al. (2015)!”

 As the INWA could have suspected, Freud et al. (2015) would not be the first time that cloud seeding researchers at the HUJ had misled the INWA about the clouds of Israel being filled with cloud seeding potential.  My conclusion regarding the false picture of “abundant” cloud seeding potential in the northern mountains of Israel painted by Freud et al. 2015 was, in essence, affirmed post facto by the “primary” results of Israel 4.  The “abundant” cloud seeding potential in northern Israel described by Freud et al. (2015) was not realized or was imaginary to begin with.

A caveat on airborne sampling:  One can “lie” with aircraft measurements by sampling only newly risen turrets and avoiding those that are maturing or in aged states with appreciable ice particle concentrations.  Gagin and Neumann (1974), for example, stated that they chose only newly risen turrets, narrow ones at that, and flew research flights on mostly dry days, and those choices misled them and the rest of the scientific community regarding the microstructure of Israeli clouds and their cloud seeding potential.  Significant rain days in Israel are comprised of large complexes of convective clouds in various stages of development, “tangled masses,” as they were described by Neumann et al. (1967).  To their credit, Freud et al. informed the reader that they sampled only newly risen turrets when reporting the low (<2 per liter) modal ice particle concentrations in those turrets.

Freud et al.’s measurements could not have been more incompatible with uncited by B23 measurements of Levin (1992: 1994; Levin et al. 1996).  Tens to hundreds per liter of ice particles were found in six flights on four days in clouds having tops >-13°C.   Freud et al. 2015 could not bring themselves to inform their readers of similar high ice particle­­­ concentrations that they likely encountered during their 27 flights (that is, if they did not deliberately avoid those high ice particle concentration regions).  Freud et al. 2015, therefore, may be a first in the evaluation of cloud seeding potential in which measurements of ice particle concentrations in mature and aging clouds were not reported; the absence of such data made their entire report unreliable.

One of the B23 co-authors (DR) has claimed that ice particle measurements measured in their airborne research were “unreasonably high” in Israeli clouds due to probe caused shattering of ice crystals and thus weren’t reliable.  D. Axisa, a representative of the manufacturer, Droplet Measurement Systems, of the CAPS probe used by Freud et al. (2015) stated that this statement was false: “They could have reported accurate ice particle concentrations if they had wanted to.” Dr. Axisa is a former president of the Weather Modification Assoc.  It seems likely that HUJ researchers are once again withholding vital information on the clouds of Israel6.

  1. What do we know about cloud seeding in Israel today?

 What we know today is that if careful, skeptical and independent analyses of Israel-1 and Israel-2 experiments and equally careful evaluations of the clouds of Israel had been done in the first place by independent Israeli scientists or ones outside Israel that are non-partisan cloud seeding scientists (as was carried out by RH95a, R88, and by Silverman 2001), there would not have been 30 plus years of wasted operational cloud as would be found by independent evaluators in the decades ahead (Kessler et al. 2006, Sharon et al. 2008).  Fortunately, we need not guess whether those 10s of millions of dollars were wasted on the seeding of Lake Kinneret watersheds.  They were.   Inexplicably, the INWA drove through the “stop sign” presented by Kessler et al. (2006) and commercially seeded around Lake Kinneret for another seven years after this report came out according to B23.

  1. Why hasn’t cloud seeding worked In Israel?

 Answer:  too much natural ice formation in clouds.

B23 failed to mention that the “ripe-for-seeding” cloud foundation for the statistical results of Israel-1 and Israel-2 no longer exists.  The mythical clouds described by HUJ researchers were critical in the acceptance of the Israeli cloud seeding rain increases by the scientific community, as quoted in Kerr (1982) earlier and by Dennis (1989).

A review of the Israeli cloud microstructure shows that they are “ripe,” but not for cloud seeding, but for an explosion of ice as the tops ascend to temperatures below -5°C and age.  In most cases, precipitation-sized drops have already formed when the Israeli cloud ascend through this level (Gagin and Neumann 1974, Figure 13.4), and the concentration of cloud droplets exceeding the Hallett-Mossop riming-splintering criterion of >23 µm diameter can be inferred to be copious in that -2.5° to -8°C temperature zone.  Furthermore, there is an enhancement of the H-M process when droplets <13 µm are present (Goldsmith et al. 1976, Mossop 1985) and such drops would be present in the semi-polluted air masses; initially, shallow cold layers diluted by the warming of the Mediterranean Sea to depths of 3-9 km on shower/thunderstorm days by the time they reach Israel under cold polar troughs.

Without the “ripe for seeding” clouds, ones with great seeding potential to cloud top temperatures as low as -21°C as described by Gagin and Neumann (1976, 1981 and Gagin 1981), there can be no viable increases in rainfall due to cloud seeding.  This does not mean that some small, slightly supercooled clouds can’t be seeded to make small amounts of rain as noted by the HUJ researchers, Gagin and Neumann (1981), and by Sharon et al. (2008).  However, those small amounts weren’t deemed viable for a cloud seeding operations.

  1. The nature of the reporting of the experiments by the HUJ cloud seeding researchers

 The omission of the south target result (Gagin and Neumann 1976, 1981) was tantamount to the cancer researcher who only reports on the 50 mice his treatment cured while not reporting on the 50 mice that died from the same treatment.  This kind of behavior in virtually every field but weather modification/cloud seeding, would be termed, “scientific misconduct,” specifically of a type called, “falsification” when data are omitted or adjusted (Ben-Yehuda and Oliver-Lumerman 2017, Fraud and Misconduct in Research)6.  Inexplicably, Prof. K. Ruben Gabriel, the Israeli cloud seeding statistician, acquiesced in this omission as a reviewer of Gagin and Neumann’s 1981 paper in which this critical omission occurred.

Moreover, reporting the apparent negative effect on rainfall in the south target of Israel-2 would have raised numerous questions about the clouds of Israel:   How could seeding Israeli clouds, described as being filled with great seeding potential as had been repeatedly described by the HUJ researchers, have resulted in what appeared to be a large decrease in rainfall in the south target on seeded days?  Cloud tops in the south target in Israel average higher temperatures than those in the north (e.g., GN74; RH95a) making findings of decreased rainfall due to cloud seeding (as Rosenfeld 1989, Rosenfeld and Farbstein 1992 suggested) even harder to explain.

Moreover, while interim “positive” reports of cloud seeding increases in rain emanated from the HUJ during Israel-1 and Israel-2, HUJ researchers clearly felt differently about reporting indications of rain decreases in Israel-2 and Israel-3.   For example, the scientific community was not informed of the suggestion of decreased rain due to clouds seeding in Israel-3 by the HUJ experimenters until 17 years after randomized seeding had begun (Rosenfeld and Farbstein 1992).  Is this what the HUJ stands for?  This chronology demonstrates a pattern that HUJ experimenters have had reporting suggestions of decreased rainfall or null results due to cloud seeding and in correcting their flawed cloud microstructure reports to the scientific community and to their countrymen in the years prior to B23.

Moreover when “good draws” or null results are suggested, the HUJ researchers reach for the magic bag to explain why “cloud seeding did it,” not nature.  For example, when the Israel-1 chief meteorologist provided a plume analysis that the buffer zone (BZ) of Israel-1 could not have been appreciably contaminated by inadvertent seeding (a conclusion also supported by Neumann et al. 1967),  Gagin and Neumann (1974), however, countered with an opposite explanation; the BZ had surely been contaminated on Center seeded days.  The reason and data behind these two different explanations for the difference in the two plume analyses was not given except in general unsatisfactory terms.

When a Type I error and massive “good draw” affected the north seeded days of Israel-2 that also brought heavy rain to the south target, the crossover null result was then explained as due to “dust/haze” that produced different cloud microstructures when present in each target, first proposed by Rosenfeld (1989) in an HUJ report.

When RH95a showed that the results of seeding on the coast of Israel in Israel-1 were too close to the cloud base seeding release point to have resulted in rain practically falling on top on the seeding aircraft that flew in a line along the coast, Rosenfeld (1997) wrote a magical explanation filled with conjectures, one requiring nine steps to be fulfilled to explain the troublesome indication of rain increases in the BZ and in the coastal zone on Center seeded days.  Please see my extended “Reply,” p11, to the hypothesis of Rosenfeld (1997) at:


When the independent panel, Kessler et al. 2002, could find no viable increases in rain in the seeding of the Lake Kinneret watersheds in their interim report, the HUJ seeding team then asserted that “air pollution” was suddenly( after 1990) decreasing rain as much as cloud seeding was increasing it (Givati and Rosenfeld (2005).  One might ask, “what happened to ‘dust/haze’”?

Ice crystal concentrations measured in Israeli clouds by our best instruments are “unreasonably high” according to B23 co-author, Rosenfeld (private communication, 2018).  Rosenfeld’s statement, however, contrasts with that of Droplet Measurement Technologies (DMT), the manufacturer of the Cloud, Aerosol and Precipitation Spectrometer (CAPS) probe used by the HUJ researchers:  “They could have reported accurate ice particle concentrations if they had wanted to” (D. Axisa, DMT scientist, personal communication, 2018).

With the certainty of dust/haze days and incoming Israeli shower clouds affected by “sea spray” as Freud et al. 2015 described on shower days during the time the HUJ experimenters were flying their research aircraft in the early 1970s, monitoring storms with their radars, or examining rawinsondes during rain spells, we can conclude confidently that the lack of reporting on shallow precipitating clouds that occurred regularly in Israel is one of the more inexplicable and troubling aspects in the reporting of the Israeli cloud seeding experiments.

Deepening this enigma is that for two winter seasons in the late 1970s, the experimenters measured the depth of raining clouds with a vertically pointed 3-cm wavelength radar with research aircraft overflights to verify accuracy (Gagin 1980).  Dr. Rosenfeld, a B23 co-author who studied clouds and radar imagery at this time, is the sole living person who can tell us what happened (Rosenfeld 1980, master’s thesis).  One must necessarily ask if the HUJ experimenters discovered clouds they “didn’t like,” and withheld that information from us as they did the results of seeding in the south target of Israel-2?  Without conjuring up a stupefying degree of incompetence, it seems likely.

It is not science that we are dealing with concerning the reporting by the HUJ cloud seeding researchers.  There will ALWAYS be another problem that prevented seeding from working and if only corrected, seeding will work, as we are sure to learn when the inevitable “secondary” results of Israel-4 are published.

Will I be given a chance to review an Israeli cloud seeding manuscript as an expert in Israeli clouds, weather, and cloud seeding?  It seems unlikely with the journal atmosphere we have today.

  1. The on-going journal problem of “one-sided citing” as seen in B23; the equivalent of today’s “cancel culture” 

The omission of the work by myself and with Prof. Peter V. Hobbs was shocking to see in B23 since all the B23 authors knew of this work.  In human terms, external skeptics from a foreign country that expose faulty science in another country are not going to be exactly welcomed (or apparently cited) by that’s country’s scientists when a scientific embarrassment unfolds, as has happened in Israel concerning cloud seeding.  While this may seem like an outlandish claim, what happened could be interpreted as tinged with nationalism has previously been shown to obfuscate science (Broad and Wade 1982, p114).

For journal readers who are used to “one-sided citing” in partisan media, our scientific journals are supposed to be immune from these acts due to a peer-review “filter” that is supposed to eliminate this practice before an article reaches the publication stage.

        a).  Why do authors, like B23, tell only one side of the story?

In the words of Ben-Yehuda and Oliver-Lumerman (2017) of the HUJ,  such deceptions are, “…a deliberate attempt to create a false reality, persuade audiences that these realities are valid, and enjoy the benefits that accompany scientific revelations, whether those of prestige, money, reputation, or power….”  The effect of one-sided citing on journal readers is well expressed in the U. S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) statement on consumer fraud:

“Certain elements undergird all deception casesFirst, there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer [journal reader].”

For the reader, one-sided citing, if it is not obvious, is purposefully done by authors to hide results that they do not want you to see.  In effect, B23 performed the same act as Gagin and Neumann (1981) did when the latter authors did not report the results of random seeding of the south target of Israel-2, results that they did not want the world to see, and results that would have raised so many questions.

Regrettably, one-sided citing (a form of deception) is widely observed in Amer. Meteor. Soc. journals and in J. Weather Modification articles on cloud seeding/weather modification:


B23 practiced one-sided citing (defined by Schultz 2009) in their article concerning the Israel-1 and Israel-2 experiments.  Inexplicably, our groundbreaking work (e.g., R88, RH88, who pointed out how anomalous the Israeli cloud reports were compared to other clouds, and RH95a) went uncited by B23.   Our work, in toto, can be said to have anticipated the both the null result of decades of operational seeding of Lake Kinneret (Kessler et al. 2006, Sharon et al. 2008) and the null “primary” result of Israel-4 reported by B23.

B23 repeatedly misled/deceived readers, the “consumers” of journal science, concerning Israel-1 and Israel-2.   If there is something different than what was done by B23 than what is described by the FTC above its not apparent.

Nor did B23 cite Wurtele (1971), Silverman (2001) or mention the critical airborne cloud measurements by one of Israel’s own leading scientists, Levin 1992, 1994, and Levin et al. 1996).  The latter measurements were the first cloud ice measurements in Israel since Gagin (1975).  Those new, independently acquired cloud ice measurements supported the conclusions in R88, RH88, and those in RH95a, all which contravened the many HUJ experimenters’ fictitious reports of “ripe for seeding” clouds whose tops could ascend to ~-20°C without precipitating.

Later measurements of cloud properties via satellite would also confirm the independent cloud measurements and assessments; that the clouds of Israel formed precipitation far more readily and at much higher cloud top temperatures (Ramanathan et al. 2001) than the HUJ experimenters could discern over many decades.

In 2015, the HUJ cloud researchers discovered that “sea spray” in the Mediterranean makes the cumuliform clouds invading Israel precipitate more efficiently and at the high cloud top temperatures like those reported in R88 (Freud et al. 2015).  We can be quite sure that Mediterranean Sea spray has been occurring and affecting clouds that move into Israel for millions of years, and of course, did so during the 1970s when the HUJ scientists were performing their aircraft and radar cloud studies.  Yet, they could not detect, or did not report, on those clouds that would have erased most of their seeding potential.

The shame of one-sided citing in B23 is that the authors could have added a single sentence following their repeated claims of rain increases in Israel-1 and -2:  “However, these results, and the cloud reports that gave the statistical results credibility, have been questioned/overturned,” followed by a string of citations.

But B23 could not bring themselves to do that.

          b) Why should we care about one-sided citing?

 Knowledgeable readers of a specific topic like this writer will know that an article has been skewed to deliberately mislead readers due to omissions of contrary findings that go against what the authors assert.  But less informed readers will not know, and their knowledge will be truncated regarding an important public policy, as when their state or local government considers a­­­­ cloud seeding program.  They will want to know the unabridged findings about the Israeli experiences as a tale of caution about accepting claims by promoters of seeding that have not been closely scrutinized by outside experts.

Moreover, “one-sided citing” sullies the reputations of all the authors even those who may not have agreed with doing it, and likewise sullies the reputations of institutions represented by the authors who practice it by suggesting that those institutions do not uphold standard science practices by those who work there.   It also damages the authors whose work goes uncited since one’s impact in science is measured by citation metrics.  Finally, even the journal in which one-sided citing occurs can be considered to have been damaged since unreliable findings have been published in it.

Nevertheless, it would appear that reviewers, editors, and journal management do not care so much about this issue.  No statement in our Amer. Meteor. Soc. ethics statement addresses the question of the pernicious practice of one-sided citing as seen in B23.  Its intellectually dishonest to omit relevant findings for your science audience just because you don’t like them

              c) Who’s responsible for “one-sided” citing in        journals?

 “One-sided” citing, specifically as observed in B23, is due to poor peer reviews of manuscripts by seeding partisans or reviewers ignorant of the literature they are supposed to know.   However, it is also due to those that do know the literature but do not get those manuscripts to review.  For example, even though I would be deemed an expert on Israeli clouds, weather, cloud seeding, and on cloud microstructure, I was inexplicably not asked to review a manuscript in my specialty; that by B23 which would have made these comments unnecessary.

The reviewers of B23 manuscript were either ignorant of the literature they were supposed to be knowledgeable about or were cloud seeding partisans that also desired that the “other side” of the story for Israel-1 and Israel-2, as represented in the peer-reviewed literature by R88, RH88, RH95a, RH97a, b, c, d, e, Silverman (2001), Wurtele (1971) and Levin’s cloud measurements (e.g., Levin et al. 1996),  be hidden from the journal readers.

At the top of the “responsibility pyramid” for one sided citing in journal articles, however, must reside the editor of the journal who chose the reviewers that allowed this to happen.  Whomever this was at the J. Appl. Meteor. Climate, should not be allowed to be an editor who disburses cloud seeding manuscripts again.

        d) Concluding remarks on one-sided citing

 While all the B23 authors are technically responsible for its misleading content, one suspects some were likely “drug along” by stronger author personalities or authors who have funding power over them.  As is done in Geophys. Res. Letts., the actual contributions of each author to this article should have been listed so we can truly know who was responsible for providing one-sided histories for Israel-1 and Israel-2 and other misleading statements.

We know, too, seeding partisans at the HUJ that have cost their own country so much will not let the “primary” null result of B23 stand; there will be “secondary” and “tertiary” stratifications of Israel-4 data perhaps designed to mislead the INWA into another randomized cloud seeding experiment or to resume operational seeding of Lake Kinneret.

It will be critical that if a new experiment is conducted at the behest of the HUJ seeding partisans, that outside, independent experts conduct it!  It is also critical that prior to a new experiment that new airborne measurements of the clouds of Israel also be undertaken by outside, independent and experienced researchers in view of the problems that researchers at the HUJ have had over several decades, right up to today,  in reporting ice particle concentrations in their clouds and their clouds’ actual seeding potential.

The major question we must now confront to avoid further science mischief by HUJ cloud seeding researchers, is how was it that they were not aware of the natural state of their clouds, namely, that clouds with tops warmer than -10°C that regularly rained, a finding that seriously limits cloud seeding potential?   To date, no explanation has been put forward.  And what evidence will they skew or miss in a likewise manner in the inevitable Israel-4, “secondary” results article?


Lastly, a note of scientific etiquette for B23 and young researchers: B23 cite the work of French et al. (2018) in demonstrating cloud seeding efficacy via the use of mm-wavelength radar.

The first use of mm-wavelength radar of the type used by French et al. (2018) was used by the Cloud and Aerosol Group at the University of Washington in a “proof of concept” experiment (Hobbs et al. 1981).  Scientific etiquette means citing those that went first (Schultz 2009)   Thus, a citation to the Hobbs et al. (1981) article should have preceded that of French et al. 2018)8.   Our experiment proved that cloud seeding works in limited situations as in those described by French et al. (2018).


1The Israeli experiments have had several names over their history.  We use the latest terms for them here, e.g., Israel-1, etc.

2Pressure was applied in 1986 on the HUJ researchers by the Israeli experiments’, “Chief Meteorologist,” Mr. Karl Rosner, who began a letter writing campaign to have the important results of seeding in the south target published by Prof. Gagin.  Mr. Rosner told Professor Hobbs and myself in a Seattle visit that he felt that Prof. Gagin’s co-author, Jehuda Neumann, was “drug along” as a co-author of Gagin’s papers.

3This author believes that it is critical that a certified copy of the list of random decisions for Israel-2 be compared against those days used in the experiment.  The remarkably unlikely random draw described by Gabriel and Rosenfeld (1990) could be explained if the original list was violated by the experimenters: draws were made and assigned to  “seed” days when heavy storms were forecast.

4Rosenfeld (1989) in an unpublished HUJ report argued that the divergent apparent effects of cloud seeding were real.

5The findings of Kessler et al.  were challenged by seeding partisans at the HUJ and who claimed that “air pollution” had decreased rain as much as cloud seeding had increased it after 1990.  While this was a convenient explanation, it was not found credible by many subsequent independent investigators, including by Kessler et al. (2006).

6Ben-Yehuda and Oliver-Lumerman’s 2020 book, Fraud and Misconduct in Research, should be required reading for B23.  Ben-Yehuda and Oliver-Lummerman are professors at the HUJ.

7I suggested the use of our vertically pointed, mm-wavelength radar for cloud seeding use to Prof. Larry Radke and Peter Hobbs, after seeing virga signatures pass overhead of that radar, realizing that creating lines of seeding in supercooled cloud layers that passed over such a radar could prove the viability of cloud seeding in a new way.  I also carried out this experiment as flight scientist/meteorologist in the seeding/monitoring aircraft.  However, I was not credited for this idea by Prof. Hobbs in the Science article.


Ben-Yehuda, N., and A. Oliver-Lumerman, 2020:  Fraud and Misconduct in Research.  University of Michigan Press, 266pp. No doi.

Benjamini, Y, A. Givati, P. Khain, Y. Levi, D. Rosenfeld, U. Shamir, A. Siegel, A. Zipori, B. Ziv, and D. M. Steinberg, 2023:  The Israel 4 Cloud Seeding Experiment: Primary Results.   J. Appl. Meteor. Climate, 62, 317-327.  https://doi.org/10.1175/JAMC-D-22-0077.1

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By Art Rangno

Retiree from a group specializing in airborne measurements of clouds and aerosols at the University of Washington (Cloud and Aerosol Research Group). The projects in which I participated were in many countries; from the Arctic to Brazil, from the Marshall Islands to South Africa.