Can Artificial Rain Cut Through China’s Smog?

Can Artificial Rain Cut Through China’s Smog?

Missiles fired into the sky carrying iodide particles could solve the country's air pollution crisis.

Serena Chu
  • 6 december 2013

China is looking to make some purposeful atmospheric changes as part of the country’s marathon industrial revolution. Starting 2015, the government is allowing local weather authorities to use cloud seeding, an artificial way to generate coordinated downpour, to clear up the heavens and finally bring back some blue skies. With 1.7 trillion yuan ($277 billion) set aside for the initiative, lets just hope it is going to be money well spent.

Cloud seeding is not a foreign concept to the Chinese government. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the government fired rockets carrying a good amount of silver iodide particles into the clouds as way to ensure clear skies for the opening ceremony. The technique was used more or less sporadically, but now, the government is hoping this idea will clear the dense layer of smog that currently engulfs the city.

Cloud seeding

Artificial precipitation might sound like a good idea, but some scientists remain skeptical. Stevens Siems, from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, argues that China doesn’t have the right atmospheric conditions for cloud seeding, considering the heavy load of ice nuclei — particulates of soot and dust — that are currently dispersed throughout the air. Granted it is hard for any nation to carry out plans without the international community’s critique, this method does represent China’s attempt to tackle the serious smog pollution currently plaguing its cities.

Source: New Scientist

Image: The Epoch Times


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