Saturday, July 14, 2007

Artificial Weather

China is in the middle of a drought. So they are using the same technology the US used in the 1940s and abandoned in the 1950s. Cloud Seeding. Ready, aim, fire and rain By Pallavi Aiyar in the on-line edition of "The Asia Times" provides some fascinating details of the Latest Chinese Efforts to help its farmers.
[Farmers] grab rocket launchers and a 37-millimeter anti-aircraft gun and begin shooting into the sky. What they launch are not bullets or missiles but chemical pellets. Their targets are not enemy aggressors but wisps of passing cloud that they aim to "seed" with silver-iodide particles around which moisture can then collect and become heavy enough to fall.
It's not surprising then that China has a Weather Modification Department.
According to Wang Guanghe, director of the Weather Modification Department under the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, each of China's more than 30 provinces and province-level municipalities today boast a weather-modification base, employing more than 32,000 people, 7,100 anti-aircraft guns, 4,991 special rocket launchers and 30-odd aircraft across the country.

"Ours is the largest artificial weather program in the world in terms of equipment, size and budget," Wang said, adding that the annual nationwide budget for weather modification is between US$60 million and $90 million.
Farmers are not the only beneficiaries of this controversial program. The 2008 Olympics, which will be held in China may be rain free. At least on August 8th, opening Day.
Zhang Qiang, the top weather-modification bureaucrat in Beijing, said her office has been conducting experiments in cloud-busting for the past two years in preparation for the Games' opening ceremony on August 8, 2008.
I don't know what the Global Warming crowd thinks of this development. Maybe someone will ask Mr. Gore soon. If I hear about it, I'll let you know.

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