So it should rain immediately. Affected provinces are preparing themselves for this: they want to use rockets and planes to rain down the clouds. According to local media, 900 rockets are to be ready for this in Chongqing, clouds are to be targeted from the air in Hubei.
This is not the first time in China weather should be manipulated. The technology has been around for decades, and the People’s Republic has the largest program in the world. Beijing’s attempt to hold a dry opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympic Games made headlines. In fact, it didn’t rain – would it have come like this, without cloud bombardment by aircraft cannot be reconstructed.
The idea of influencing the weather: “You want to create a cloud that doesn’t normally rain,” says Ulrike Lohmann, a meteorologist and physicist for T-Online from ETH Zurich. She explains that most of the clouds in the sky will evaporate again. “The droplets in a cloud are as thick as a human hair. They don’t just fall to the ground.” In so-called inoculation, particles are brought into the cloud, where the droplets are deposited. “It’s raining or raining – but not much, because the cloud doesn’t carry that much water.”
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lohmann is a meteorologist and professor of atmospheric physics at the Institute for Atmosphere and Climate at ETH Zurich. His focus is on investigating the role of clouds and particulate matter in the climate system. In 2007 and 2014/15 she was one of the lead authors of the fourth and fifth assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
For it to rain artificially, it is necessary to have clouds. This is where technology in China is currently reaching its limits: many rockets and planes cannot be used because of the blue sky.
Wherever the clouds collect, they are mixed with silver iodide: a salt made from silver and iodine – and with toxic effects on the creatures that live in the water. According to Lohmann, the silver iodide cloud is reduced after seeding, but only in small amounts. “Relevant concentrations will be reached only after decades.”
It could happen in China: the People’s Republic wants to cover 5.5 million square kilometers with artificial rainfall programs by 2025. That is, 60 percent of the country’s area, 15 times the size of Germany. It aims to respond to drought and promote the development of climate arid regions through artificial irrigation. The Communist leadership under Xi Jingping is paying billions for it.
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But China isn’t the only country to invest: According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), more than 50 countries have similar programs. The United Arab Emirates wants to combat the heat with artificial rain. They use a technique that involves connecting the droplets by means of an electric charge. This makes them heavy and they fall to the ground, as a video from the National Weather Service said to prove.
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