China is taking up responsibilities from mother nature, as it aims to create artificial rain in an area which is 1.7 times the size of France. China’s northwestern provinces of Gansu, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Ningxia and Xinjiang are considered to be the country’s largest deserts and are currently at the threat of a drought. The area experiences hot and dry climate during the summer, and a cold one during the winter.
To reduce the problems of their citizens, China has decided to resolve the issue through artificial means. It plans to spend 1.15 million yuan ($168 million) to use cloud seeding techniques for inducing rainfall in its parched northwestern provinces.
This seeding program will be the country’s largest one, as reported by the South China Morning Post. The Chinese Meteorological Administration hopes that this activity will lead to at least 10 percent increase in rainfalls and snow in the area. China says that the process will take a period of at least three years. It will need four new airplanes along with eight existing aircraft to go with nearly 900 rocket launch systems connected with 1856 devices to make the magic happen.
The Cloud seeding works by sending planes and rockets to penetrate clouds with dry ice or silver iodide catalysts, which induce or increase rainfall. China has been using the cloud seeding technique for quite some time to remove the perennial northern smog from its atmosphere.
The cloud seeding technology first made headlines back in 2008, when China launched 1,100 silver iodide rockets into Beijing’s skies to disperse the rain bearing clouds threatening to halt the Olympics opening ceremony.
Now, the purpose of seeding is ‘community service,’ as China hopes to alleviate the drought through this technique. The economic giant has already spent a whopping $150 million on a single cloud-seeding program, which is about ten times more than what the U.S. spends per year.
According to the South China Morning Post, this artificial rainfall enhancement technique has increased rainfall by 50 billion cubic meters from 2006 to 2016, which is roughly 1.5 times the size of Lake Mead. But amidst all the praise, some studies have warned against the overuse of this technique. These studies claim that we may face some significant long-term problems as a consequence of stopping nature take its due course.
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