The most extensive operations are taking place in China, however. Here, for example, weather-modification "authorities" use conventional military weaponry to bombard clouds with silver-iodide particles. Under the guidance of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), local "weather changing" offices employ some 39,000 staff equipped with 7,113 anti-aircraft cannons, which, in 2006, were used to fire a million rounds of silver iodide into the atmosphere (with the country spending over $100m a year in the process). The Chinese state news agency claims that between 1999 and 2006, China produced 250 billion metric tonnes of artificial rain, though researchers take this with a pinch of salt.
The Chinese have gone public with their intention to stop drizzle ruining the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics.
Think the world can be convinced to give up crop genetic engineering, human genetic engineering, weather modification, or continual construction of large numbers of coal electric plants? Not with the rise of China. The Chinese remind me of America in the 1950s.
New technologies let researchers follow atmospheric events as they happen, says Roelof Bruintjes of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, Colorado. "This really is a new era of weather modification."
"There have been big improvements in radar, satellites, and airborne instrumentation, and unmanned aerial vehicle technology," says Joe Golden of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, DC, US.
Bruintjes is skeptical of China's claims because they rely on the results of studies done in the 1960s and 70s before the complexity of Earth's weather was fully understood and there is little data to back-up claims of success.
"There is no evaluation, there is no scientific literature available that can substantiate their claims," he said.
Imagine what China will do once weather modification works well.
One of the world's leading experts on weather modification, Bruintjes has helped design cloud seeding and other weather modification programs on every continent except Antarctica. His work focuses primarily on attempts to enhance rainfall in arid and semi-arid regions of the world, including ongoing projects in Wyoming, Australia, Turkey, the Middle East, and West Africa. He has also consulted with Chinese experts about their programs in rainfall enhancement and prevention. In addition to evaluating various cloud seeding technologies, Bruintjes researches inadvertent weather modification, including the effects of smoke and pollution on clouds and rainfall.
People around the world are going to modify the weather. One can easily imagine conflicts between nations because a country that is more upstream causes water to come down on their territory leaving less water to rain down on a country that is more downstream.
A recent gathering of weather modification experts in Westminster Colorado called for a restart of research efforts to develop weather modification technologies.
It's high time the federal government fund research in modifying the weather to bring more rain to the thirsty West and to slow down deadly hurricanes, top scientists said Tuesday.
The brainpower is available, instrumentation is vastly improved, but the feds haven't funded weather-modification research since the mid-1990s, Joe Golden, a scientist specializing in atmospheric modification, said at an international symposium being held this week in Westminster.
The US Department of Homeland Security asked Joe Golden to gather together experts to discuss the idea of diverting hurricanes. Golden and his colleagues think research efforts should aim at diverting and weakening hurricanes.
The hurricane diversion argument seems compelling. Imagine that aircraft had seeded Hurricane Katrina before it approached the Louisiana coast. Tens of billions of dollars of damage might have been avoid.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2008 May 04 10:43 PM Climate Engineering|