I was so excited…

 My trip, and the analysis of the data that came out of it,  was the first published report that something was not right with Prof. Gagin’s cloud reports.  My publication appeared in the Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., Rangno 1988, “Rain from Clouds with Tops Warmer than -10°C in Israel,” hereafter, “R88,” found here).  My manuscript was “communicated” to the Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc. by the director of our airborne research group,  Prof. Peter V. Hobbs, a member of the Royal Society eligible to submit papers to that journal.  (I was not).

Neither Prof. Hobbs nor I believed that my paper refuting the many published descriptions of Israeli clouds by Prof. Gagin could be published in an American Meteorological Society journal.  Too many potential reviewers had heard Prof. Gagin’s presentations on too many occasions, or read his journal papers,  to believe that what he was saying could be so much in error.

R88 was based on rawinsonde-indicated cloud tops when it was raining at the launch site or within an hour and a half, so it was fairly primitive.  Why I had only rawinsonde data and not data from Prof. Gagin’s 5-cm modern radar data as was explained in Chapter 4.

Nevertheless, my “primitive” findings were confirmed several years later in independent airborne studies (e.g., Levin 1992, 1994, preprints; Levin et al. 1996, J. Appl. Meteor.) and on several occasions since then (e.g., Freud et al. 2015).  Spiking football now!

Why Prof. Gagin’s cloud reports were likely in error and how much they deviated from comparable clouds was shown in Rangno and Hobbs 1988, Atmos. Res.

I had experienced cloud seeding “delusionaries” in Colorado during the CRBPP, namely, credentialed “scientists” who believed things that weren’t true and even published things they knew weren’t true (as Grant and Elliott had done in 1974, J. Appl. Meteor.).  I sensed that Prof. Gagin might be one of those.  He and his staff also had a lot to lose if the clouds of Israel weren’t so ripe for seeding as his descriptions painted them.

I reprised my 1988 published findings from my trip to Israel in a University of Washington Atmos. Sci. colloquium in February 1990. I was motivated by the J. Appl. Meteor. memorial issue to Prof. Gagin in October 1989.  Here’s the flyer for that talk, intended to draw interest with some topical humor concerning the Iran-Contra affair that was in progress while I was in Israel in 1986 (unknown to me at the time):

End of life story.  I consider this episode concerning Israeli clouds my greatest, costliest, volunteer science contribution of the several reanalyses that I did on my own time and dime.



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.

1 comment

  1. Hi Art,
    That was the best colloquium I ever attended at the UW. (Unless you had another one and I have the dates wrong.) I recall it going over very well with the rest of the audience also.

    However, I don’t recall ever seeing this hilarious flyer. I’m glad you kept a copy.

    Also, good to see you posting up here again. I haven’t checked back in a few years, but now have this site bookmarked.


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