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China announces expansion to weather modification program, artificial rain to cover area bigger than size of India

Monday December 7, 2020 - 09:24 EDT

China has revealed plans over the next five years to expand its experimental weather modification program, to cover an area greater than the size of India with artificial rainfall.

says breakthroughs in research and new technologies means the country will have a "developed weather modification system" by 2025.

It said the total area of artificial rainfall will cover more than 5.5 million square kilometres, while the area of hail suppression will cover about 580,000 square kilometres ? larger than Victoria.

"China will have a developed weather modification system by 2025, with breakthroughs in fundamental research [and development] in key technologies, steady improvements in modernisation and refined services, distinct enhancement in comprehensive prevention against safety risks," the statement said.

The State Council said weather modification will "intensify" in areas of mitigating drought, hail, fires and high temperatures, while also assisting agricultural production and preserving ecologically protected areas.

China has long experimented with weather modification, having experimented with cloud seeding to reduce rainfall .

Cloud seeding ? specifically, glaciogenic cloud seeding ? is where tiny drops of super-cooled water that are not growing efficiently enough to become raindrops are converted into ice by adding silver iodide.

ready to fall from the sky. The process only works if conditions are just right.

The process is used in Australia over the Snowy Mountains in NSW.

Hydro Tasmania has also conducted cloud-seeding flights before stopped in June 2016. The flights delivered silver iodide to clouds via light aircraft.

More recently, Chinese scientists have revealed they will use satellites and rockets as part of an ambitious project to artificially create rainfall ? despite doubts surrounding its efficacy.

The $19 million Tianhe Project ? which translates into Sky River ? is the world's largest artificial rain experiment, which aims to divert excess water vapour above the Yangtze river basin towards drier parts of the country, according to local media.

Scientists from China's Tsinghua and Qinghai Universities put forward the project in 2015. It requires constructing an artificial air corridor to carry the water vapour.

More recently, they have moved to develop satellites and rockets that would then monitor vapour presences and movement and redirect it to create precipitation.


© ABC 2020

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