Chinese officials have vowed to ramp-up efforts to control the weather, announcing on Thursday that they intend to try to use technology to reduce natural disasters and combat droughts.
According to the Xinhua news agency, Zheng Guoguang, the director of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), said that the weather-manipulation program will be used to aid the country’s agricultural and rural development, provide additional airborne water resources, improve the ecology, and help prevent environmental calamities from occurring.
“By the mid 21st century, China will be a country short of water, with a per capita water source of 1,700 cubic meters,” Zheng told Xinhua reporters on Friday, “thus we need to control the weather.”
In August 2008, Chinese officials fired what the AFP refers to as “chemical-laden ‘rain dispersal rockets'” over the capital of Beijing in an attempt to clear smog and rainclouds prior to the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Then in 2009, they began setting aside a special budget for climate manipulation activities, which so far this year has exceeded 114 million dollars, according to the Xinhua report.
“Cloud-seeding typically involves firing substances such as silver iodide, salts and dry ice into the sky, which bring on the formation of larger raindrops,” AFP reported late Thursday evening. “But the technique has sparked controversy.”
“Beijing residents griped about flight delays, traffic snarls, cancelled classes and other inconveniences of a surprise heavy snowstorm in November 2009 that was artificially induced and was the city’s earliest snowfall in 20 years,” the French news agency added. “Some experts also have said more research must be done into the potential effects of repeated use of such methods.”
According to the CMA’s official website, government regulations on weather manipulation were adopted in March 2002, and note that “the State encourages and supports scientific and technological research of weather modification and extended application of advanced technologies thereof.”
The website also notes that individuals are prohibited from implementing weather modification procedures “until they have received training and passed the exams organized by the competent meteorological departments of provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government.”
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