Every year for many across the world, drought is a real problem. It causes serious health risks of dehydration – drought is no laughing matter. Cloud seeding offers a potential solution to this, and the wondrous thing is, it can be used literally worldwide… theoretically.
Cloud seeding is process of spreading chemicals like dry ice to forcefully make clouds undergo precipitation to form frozen ice drops that will defrost & become water droplets as they fall. The seeding is done from the earth or more efficiently by plane. As we know, rain itself starts as a liquid not far from freezing, forming ice crystals in the clouds high above, so this process isn’t that far-fetched. The silver iodide, or dry ice, just speed up and expand this sequence generating more and more crystals.
The issue, and skepticism, with whether this process does indeed work is that it’s carried out on clouds that are showing signs of potential rainfall, and one cannot be sure as to whether they would have rained without the encouragement. Success has been claimed in a wide range of ‘dry’ countries including Australia and the UAE, with the latter claiming they formed 52 storms in the Abu Dhabi desert. The benefit of this, if it does indeed work, would be that those areas with little rainfall and the risk of drought could be saved as they actually still have water held in the air which could be made to generate ice crystals and create rainfall. The science behind it is that the ‘seeds’ themselves pull the water from the air and have it bind to the chemicals which in turn crystallizes and forms the aforementioned crystals.
The inventor of Cloud Seeding, Mr. Vincent Schaefer carried out the first successful experiment of his idea in 1946. On behalf of the General Electric Co, Vincent managed to generate rainfall and, in lab conditions, managed to create a snowstorm.
The scientific benefits and belief in cloud seeding was huge, during the 1960s in the US a project named ‘Stormfury’ was undertaken to try and in effect weaken cyclones and at the time they thought it was worthy enough to test this method on a range of Atlantic hurricanes before they realized the system was ineffective as the hurricanes themselves just don’t contain enough water for the chemicals to bind to and have that much impact. The most impressive claim of recent years though has to come from China, who say that in 2008 during the Beijing Olympics they used this process in reverse to actually stop rain forming and keep it dry over the event!
So there we have it, not only have we created driverless cars and self-regulating ‘smart’ homes, we have now quit literally harnessed the power of rainfall… potentially. Whatever the score, and however valid these claims are, the process has been tested and it has worked whether it was going to rain anyway remains a mystery but it’s still very impressive and rather mind-blowing. The potential practical applications of such a process would be revolutionary.