China: fighting drought through weather modification

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China: fighting drought through weather modification

China's weather modification program began over 50 years ago, highlighted by the 1958 milestone when the nation carried through its first flight to seed rain clouds.  Currently the program covers 33% of the country's land surface and authorities estimate that it FUCOAincreases annual rainfall by about 16%.

During the Third International Water Sustainability Summit in Santiago, Chile, professor Zhanyu Yao explained how the Asian giant has mitigated drought through the weather program.

The reason behind China's program stems from the presence of various meteorological disasters such as drought, hail storms, floods and monsoons that cost the country about 2.8% of its GDP, explained the PhD from the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences.

The country also experiences strong forest fires and intense fogs that cause problems at airports and highways.

Yao explained that the most serious problem is drought, which has become increasingly severe.

"Today we face a serious water scarcity problem. More than 400 cities face the most serious problems. There is a lack of water in many places," he said.

The expert explained that in 2012 more than 2,000 counties in 30 provinces made improvements to precipitation and hail suppression using artillery and rocket launches from the ground. Clouds were seeded in 24 provinces using 45 planes equipped with silver iodide, dry ice and liquid nitrogen.

To support the system, the nation also utilizes an integrated weather observation system with a network of ground-level monitoring, meteorological satellites and Doppler radar.

"In a lot of countries planes are used but not so much for from ground-level installations for cloud seeding," he said.

When asked if the system posed any risk to the environment, Yao said that the level of silver found in precipitation after cloud seeding was at what is considered a safe level.

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