The rest of the world can deal with droughts and bad crops but China has plans to step up its rain-making endeavors and increase precipitation by 10% during the next four years.
China decided to relieve Mother Nature of her rain-making duties a few years ago. They don’t mind if the ol’ gal adds a sprinkle or two here and there, but the Chinese government prefers to oversee the rain these days, and they have plans to bring on more of the wet stuff during the next few years.
Weather modification isn’t anything new for China but Beijing’s recent announcement to have five regional weather control programs increase artificial rain by ten percent during the next four years is a “major expansion” of their weather modification efforts, according to WSJ|China.
Operations in Beijing and the northeastern province of Jilin reportedly produce 50 billion cubic meters of artificial precipitation at this time but the China Daily says that number could easily read 280 billion cubic meters if “more effective weather intervention measures are taken.”
Manipulating the weather has had mixed results for China, ranging from success with clearing some of the pollution from Beijing before the 2008 Olympics to less-than-stellar results with a blizzard being produced in 2009. Modern rain-making is done by using rockets or shooting shells that are filled with silver iodide particles to “seed” the clouds, causing water vapor in the air to crystallize at temperatures it otherwise wouldn’t. While some studies lack faith in the practice of cloud-seeding, others say the practice can increase rainfall… but only by 20 percent, and even that increase isn’t guaranteed.
The new program is expected to be established in the northwest, south, southwest, and north but specific details haven’t been mentioned yet. According to an early report, the program is expected to cost roughly 1 billion yuan ($157 million.)
This will be interesting. I wonder what happen to the workers if they fail to produce the additional rain? As I vaguely remember Italy is currently prosecuting geologists who failed to predict earthquakes.