Cloud Seeding: Literally Manipulating The Weather

Many years ago, we were on holiday and my family had the perfect weekend planned. We were going to go to the beach pretty much every day, get ice cream and visit the local curio shops. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of a sunny week like that? I woke the next morning to pretty much what I could describe as a tropical storm. “You can’t control the weather” was what my grandmother muttered.

According to new studies, there is in fact a way to control the weather, well some of it. Cloud seeding may assist by decreasing the severity of hail storms or for example, increase rainfall. This could very well be of a great benefit to drought stricken or storm battered areas. Earth’s climate is forever changing, so why not find a way to keep the conditions just right?

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In essence, a process where planes fitted with emitters pass through clouds, which are then injected with silver iodide which induces precipitation. Around since the 1940’s, the success has been debatable.

The process is pretty simple – the silver iodide acts to catalyze water droplets in the cloud, resulting in rain or hail. Used for quite a number of years, cloud seeding has statistically reduced storm severity by up to 27 percent according to one of the success stories in Alberta.

Decreasing hail storm severity is very important, but more recently, the focus has been more directed at drought stricken areas and the possibilities of increasing rainfall. Current research is looking into replacing the use of silver iodide with a catalyst which creates precipitation in an easier, more effective manner.

The use of nanotechnologies alongside with other chemicals is set for exploration, seeking increased efficiency and more environmentally friendly options. Silver is toxic to some organisms, so this could very well be a shutterstock_291381668great step in the right direction.

There is also the monetary side to consider and according to a study performed by Texas A&M, if seeding could increase rainfall by just 1 inch per year, a return of $19 could be seen for every dollar spent.

Weather patterns are increasing in severity due to our ongoing climate change which emphasizes on how important new technologies such as cloud seeding  could be for areas already struggling to survive.

We must however remember that we also need to do our part to reduce climate change by recycling, planting new forests for carbon sequestration and by consciously choosing wisely what we purchase.

With thanks to The Rain Forest Site for this valuable information.