FEB 09, 2017 2:05 PM PST

Make it Rain: Cloud Seeding Works, According to China

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

With modern technology, it's now possible to summon rain without raindances or offerings to the gods. The process is called cloud seeding, and it involves saturating the clouds with substances like dry ice, silver iodide, or potassium iodide. When water in the air condenses with the particles in the clouds, ice forms and it begins to rain.

Why does China want to induce artificial rain? They are particularly determined to modify the dry and parched climates of China's southwestern provinces, including Gansu, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Ningxia and Xinjiang. In addition to providing some moisture to these regions, China may also be hoping to wash away the pervasive smog in heavily populated cities.

While scientists are still debating whether cloud seeding really works, China claimed the program has increased the precipitation by 55 billion cubic meter in about a decade. In fact, they are actually pouring in more money (pun intended) for more rain in the future.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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