Cloud-seeding will not hurt the environment, say experts

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NEW DELHI - Atmospheric experts in China have said that cloud seeding experiments to encourage rain will not hurt the environment.

The concern is that silver iodide - the catalyst used for the purpose - is considered hazardous and a toxic pollutant but scientists said that the quantities used are not large enough to have any effect on the environment, reports the China Daily.

“The impact of weather manipulation can be ignored because the dose of the catalyst is too small to cause a problem,” said Lei Hengchi, a professor specializing in weather intervention at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He added that experiments failed to find any silver iodide in Huairou Reservoir, on the outskirts of Beijing, after silver iodide was dispersed into clouds upstream of it.

Beijing burned more than 2,000 silver iodide rods (6.5 kilograms) at weather manipulation stations to enhance recent snowfalls on the city.

The silver iodide was dispersed in a 10,000-square-kilometer area, meaning about 1.3 grams was used for every square kilometer, Beijing Times quoted Zhang Qiang, head of the capital’s artificial weather intervention office, as saying on Wednesday.

“Such a small dose cannot make an impact on the environment,” Zhang said.

In order to relieve the drought that has continued since October, China had carried out nearly 2,200 weather control measures as of Monday aimed at encouraging precipitation, according to the latest statistics from (ANI)

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