Environmental Science

China Turns To Cloud-Seeding Weather Modification To Remedy Drought

China Turns To Cloud-Seeding Weather Modification To Remedy Drought

China is using cloud-seeding to deliver rain to the parched reservoirs along the Yangtze River, the largest river in Asia and the source of water for hundreds of millions of people, as they battle their worst drought in recent memory.

In the US and several regions of Europe, this summer has seen heatwaves that broke records, and China is no exception.

According to the state-run daily China Daily, the National Metrological Centre issued a “red alert” weather warning last week due to the possibility of temperatures above 40°C (104°F) in a few places. China’s temperatures have been high for more than 63 days, and a dip in temperature is not anticipated any time soon.

Drought is brought on by these oppressive temperatures. According to reports, rainfall in China is down 45 percent from usual, and water levels in the Yangtze River’s main body and two of its largest lakes, Dongting and Poyang, are at their lowest points ever.

To stop water from evaporating or seeping away, local authorities have been instructed to spray fields with a “water-retaining chemical”. Due to a rise in the demand for air conditioning and a lack of water for hydropower generation, some factories in the country were forced to close last week.

According to China Daily, many provinces are attempting to combat the drought with the use of cloud-seeding activities. Some provinces have chosen to utilize ground-to-air cloud-seeding missiles, while others have chosen to use cloud-seeding airplanes.

Techniques for “seeding” clouds with particles that resemble ice in clouds, such as silver iodide or other crystalline particles, are used in cloud seeding. The likelihood of precipitation rises when water droplets cluster around the ice crystal in the sky like seeds for raindrops.

China has experimented with this kind of weather modification many times before. In order to guarantee clear skies and sunshine for the celebrations of the Chinese Communist centenary, Beijing was proven to have deployed cloud seeding technology the previous year. To prevent rain from hindering the 2008 Summer Olympics, they accomplished a similar trick.