China wants to use weather control for 10% more rain by 2015

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Fresh from scoring another record grain harvest this year, China now plans to get the weather to heel as well.

Rainmaking has now become part of the government’s five-year-term goals, the state-run China Daily reported Friday. Over the next four years, Beijing wants five regional weather control programs to increase artificial rain by 10 percent, it says.

The plan marks a major expansion of China’s “weather modification” efforts, deployed for years in Beijing to sometimes mixed results. Cloud-seeding – accomplished by shooting shells or rockets filled with silver iodide particles into promising puffs of white – was instrumental in clearing the smog out of the skies during the 2008 Olympics and has helped relieve the capital from chronic water shortages. But the effort has occasionally gone horribly, and expensively, awry.

Existing weather modification operations in Beijing and the northeastern province of Jilin currently produce 50 billion cubic meters of artificial precipitation, the China Daily said, citing the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). The number could read 280 billion cubic meters if “more effective weather intervention measures are taken,” the paper said.

“Because clouds are boundless, weather control is boundless,” CMA official Zheng Jiangping was quoted by China Daily as saying.

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