Technology

China uses rockets to make rain


China uses rockets that shoot silver iodide particles that help form clouds and cause rain.

A Chinese worker fires a rocket “seeding in the clouds” to create rain in Hubei on May 10, 2011. (Image: Getty Images)

The project was announced by China many years ago, but at that time experts judged it as a fantasy. However, this past July, at the celebration of the founding of the Communist Party, China fired rockets containing silver iodide into the sky and caused heavy rain.

Silver iodide is often used in “cloud seeding” – the technique of creating artificial rain. Silver iodide particles essentially act as nuclei causing water droplets to clump together until they become so heavy that they fall from the sky as rain or snow. Before that, dry ice, table salt, and liquid propane was also used to make artificial rain. Theoretically, these particles can also regulate the speed of rain and snowfall, limiting hail and fog.

The action contributes to the rapid reduction of air pollution levels in China. According to the researchers, the man-made rain reduced PM2.5 levels by more than two-thirds, enough to raise the air quality standard from “moderate” to “good” according to the Foundation’s assessment framework. World Health.

A resident nearby saw the rocket in action and described the launch to the South China Morning Post: “A loud sound like thunder, going on for a very long time, followed by heavy rain.”. The process lasted about two hours the night before the event, the researchers said.

Chinese officials say they spent $1.3 billion on weather technology between 2012 and 2017. The technology helped generate about 230 square kilometers of additional rainfall — an estimated 1 times more than that. Five times the volume of Lake Tahoe, the second deepest freshwater lake in the US and the 15th largest in the world.

In the future, China has even bigger ambitions with similar technologies. In 2020, the Chinese government announced a plan to expand the weather adjustment program over an area of ​​5.5 million square kilometers and plans to develop 100,000 square kilometers per year. Chinese officials believe these programs could increase rainfall in Beijing alone by 15%.

About 50 other countries are also exploring this form of cloud seeding to create rain. Most recently, Dubai surprised with its plan to sow seeds in the clouds with drones. The United States is no stranger to technology, with at least eight states using it to try to increase rainfall during droughts. According to Scientific American, state agencies across Colorado, Wyoming and Utah have combined to spend about $1.5 million on cloud seeding in the upper Colorado River basin.

Huong Dung (According to Gizmodo)

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