WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
A large part of China is arid, with serious implications on the people’s livelihoods and health, the new climate control program will improve their living conditions.
China, the world’s second largest economy, announced on Wednesday that it’s going to spend $168 million on a climate control program that will hopefully make it rain in the country’s arid north west.
No stranger to using technologies like cloud seeding to influence and even control weather patterns, China’s top economic planners gave the go ahead for what will be the world’s largest weather control programs after a feasibility study conducted last year concluded that the three year program could generate a significant increase in the amount of rainfall over an area of 960,000 sq km, or as much as 10% of China.
The budget for the project, which was allocated by the National Development and Reform Commission will cover the cost for four new aircraft and updates to eight existing planes, nearly 900 rocket launch systems and over 1,800 digital control devices.
China has been deploying cloud seeding technology at an unprecedented rate for the past few years now so the new project, while huge, isn’t necessarily a surprise, and in the past the government have induced rainfall by peppering clouds with catalysts like silver iodide or dry ice to relieve droughts.
The country, like many others, is also known to manipulate precipitation for other purposes, like clearing the skies for public events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, countering boiling summer heat and attempting to wash away the choking smog that annually envelops major cities.
This latest weather investment though will target the swathe of western China between Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, a stretch of the country known for dry climate and general water shortages. Meanwhile an official from Qinghai, another province that will benefit from the program, said that between 2006 and 2016 artificial rain induction program, as they’re calling it, has increased the amount of rainfall by 55 billion cubic meters.
So let it rain, let it rain.