A leading Chinese meteorologist says the country will employ more rainmaking technology and make better use of it in the next five years.
Some 560,000 manipulations of the weather have been conducted since 2002 using aircraft, rockets and projectiles carrying dry ice or silver iodide particles to stimulate rainfall, resulting with release of 489.7 billion tons of rain and saved about $10.4 billion in economic losses the China Meteorological Administration reported.
China started with weather modification program in 1958. For the 2008 Olympics, China had 30 airplanes, 4,000 rocket launchers, and 7,000 anti-aircraft guns to stop rain. Each system would shoot various chemicals into any threatening clouds to shrink rain drops before they reach the stadium. In February 2009, China also blasted iodide sticks over Beijing to artificially induce snowfall after four months of drought, and blasted iodide sticks over other areas of northern China to increase snowfall. The snowfall in Beijing lasted for approximately three days and led to the closure of 12 main roads around Beijing. At the end of October 2009 Beijing claimed it had its earliest snowfall since 1987 due to cloud seeding.
Weather modification involves seeding clouds with grains of dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) or tiny particles of silver iodide to stimulate rainfall. The most common form of weather modification is cloud seeding to increase rain or snow, usually for the purpose of increasing the local water supply. Its use has been expanding nationally in recent years to tackle drought, hailstones, forest fires and floods. There is concern over potential pollution hazards attached to the intervention projects.
Weather modification in warfare has been banned by the United Nations. This process can be used in enemy destruction by creating artificial floods, cyclones and typhoons. It can allow controlling the economy and agricultural commodity markets.
Dangers of weather manipulation
If large-scale weather control were to become feasible, potential negative implications may include unintended side effects (especially given the chaotic nature of weather development), damage to existing ecosystems, health risks to humans, malevolent control or use as a weapon, ELF hot spots causing slightly accelerated ionospheric depletion by solar wind and many more. Silver iodide can cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury to humans and mammals with intense or continued but not chronic exposure. Amounts of silver generated by cloud seeding are 100 times less than industry emissions into the atmosphere in many parts of the world.
Accumulations in the soil, vegetation, and surface runoff have not been large enough to measure above natural background. A 1995 environmental assessment in the Sierra Nevada of California and a 2004 independent panel of experts in Australia confirmed these earlier findings. Environmentalists are concerned about the uptake of elemental silver in a highly sensitive environment affecting the pygmy possum amongst other species as well as recent high level algal blooms in once pristine glacial lakes. Research 50 years ago and analysis by the former Snowy Mountains Authority led to the cessation of the cloud seeding program in the 1950s with non-definitive results. Formerly, cloud seeding was rejected in Australia on environmental grounds because of concerns about the protected species, the pygmy possum.
Cloud-top seeding is usually performed between the temperatures of -5°C and -10°C. The greatest amount of super-cooled liquid water is usually found within this range. This corresponds to an altitude range of 15,000 to 22,000 ft depending upon location. The more modern methods involve artificial ionization of earth’s atmosphere between 15,000 and 30,000 ft. and above. Manipulating the ionosphere and use of controlled solar-terrestrial interactions can create much larger effects. The ionosphere, which acts as a filter for the solar radiations to reach the earth. If one can manipulate and control the filter, it becomes a potential source of massive weather modification. The algorithmic variation of ionosphere can create the effects in a massive scale. And there is HAARP. A super-powerful radiowave-beaming technology that lifts areas of the ionosphere by focusing a beam and heating those areas. Electromagnetic waves then bounce back onto Earth. The High-Frequency Active Aural Research Program (HAARP) based in Gakona, AAlaska – jointly managed by the US Air Force and the US Navy– is part of a new generation of sophisticated weaponry under the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, HAARP constitutes a system of powerful antennas capable of creating “controlled local modifications of the ionosphere. HAARP could contribute to climate change by intensively bombarding the atmosphere with high-frequency rays. Returning low-frequency waves at high intensity could also affect people’s brains, and effects on tectonic movements cannot be ruled out.