Like the rest of the world, China has also just experienced a record-breaking heat wave recently. It was so intense that parts of the Yanghtze River have gone completely dry. To combat the country’s hottest temperatures on record, Chinese officials are now using a technique called “cloud seeding” to stimulate more rainfall.
CNN reported this week that this year’s heat wave is affecting water security and crops greatly. The technique being used shoots silver iodide rods, usually the size of cigarettes, high into the sky to generate ice crystals, which will then turn into rain.
Cloud seeding was introduced to China in 1958. It was adapted from Russia. Today, China cloud seeds more than any other country, and Quartz reported in 2013 that the country estimated it produced 55 billion tons of water each year with cloud seeding.
A medically reviewed article WedMD published earlier this year states that scientists haven’t found any negative effects on the human body from cloud seeding.
However, there is an interesting abundance in cloud seeding conspiracy theories. The medical site says any silver concentrated in the resulting rainwater is far below the accepted limit for silver exposure. WebMD also iterates that while there’s currently no scientific evidence to prove that cloud seeding harms the environment and atmosphere, it might become something in the future.
The rising temperatures across the globe have come with double whammies like failing power grids and international tensions over energy production and the resulting economic systems it creates. If this is not checked, there will be dire consequences.