China’s Ministry of Finance recently announced that it has allocated 199 million yuan ($29.8 million) to be spent on cloud seeding weather modification projects being implemented throughout the country.
The Chinese government is hoping that the cloud seeding operations will ease drought conditions and lessen the impact of weather-related disasters, which claim hundreds of lives each year.
Cloud seeding technology was developed in the United States during the late 1940s, and involves the use of chemicals, such as silver iodide crystals, which are dispersed in the air to create rainfall.
When cloud seeding chemicals are introduced into the atmosphere, they cause raindrops within a cloud to form more quickly, making rain fall sooner than it normally would.
The Chinese plan involves the use of aircraft, guns and rockets to fire salt-and-mineral “bullets” into the sky to stimulate rainfall in drought-stricken regions. The Ministry of Finance hopes to create an extra 60 billion cubic meters of rain each year by 2020 through the use of the technology.
At least 52 countries currently pursuing weather modification programs
China is not the only country currently implementing weather modification projects.
As Business Insider reported:
“China is far from the only nation trying to bring (or stop) the rain. At least 52 countries — including the United States — have current weather modification programs, 10 more countries than five years ago, according to the World Meteorological Organization.”
Weather modification – also known as geoengineering – has become a controversial issue in the United States and elsewhere.
And although there is no definitive proof that the so-called “chemtrails” filling our skies are the product of a secret government plot created to modify the weather (or, according to some, to depopulate the planet), there certainly are cloud seeding operations taking place in the U.S. and in many other countries.
Geoengineering has become a booming business, particularly in response to recent severe drought conditions in the U.S. and throughout the world.
California and several Midwest states are currently using cloud seeding technology to combat drought conditions. Rainfall is desperately needed in many areas where water for drinking and crop irrigation is in short supply.
In India, millions are being spent on cloud seeding programs, and in Russia, $1.3 was spent on a project in May created to stop rain from falling during International Worker’s Day. China was reportedly successful in clearing the skies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics by causing the rain to fall early.
What will be the long-term impact of geoengineering?
Cloud seeding is an inexact science, however, and it’s difficult to measure just how effective it really is, although most experts agree that it does work – at least to a degree.
But it doesn’t take a meteorologist to realize that if it rains more in one place, then it is likely going to rain less somewhere else.
That’s an oversimplification, of course, but there are legitimate legal and ethical concerns regarding large-scale geoengineering operations – not to mention their effect on overall weather patterns and the environment in general.
Some experts are worried that silver residue from cloud seeding operations may pollute river basins.
D. Samuelson of News Target questioned the practice of “paying billions of dollars to spew chemicals like ammonium perchlorate, aluminum powder, copper iodide, acetone and silver iodide to make rain.”
Do we really need to be dumping more toxins into our environment just to make it rain?
Geoengineering may be used for more sinister purposes than easing droughts. The U.S. government employed cloud seeding technology in Vietnam for military purposes, and research into weather modification as a weapon continues in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The multi-billion dollar geoengineering business is likely to keep growing, especially with more nations beginning to see the potential for both peaceful and military applications of the technology.
But the long-term impact of “playing God” with the weather remains to be seen – and the costs may be greater than we realize …
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