China to conduct biggest artificial rain experiment ever
China has embarked on its biggest rainmaking project that it calls ‘Sky River’ to solve the problem of water shortage and inducing extra rainfall over the world’s largest plateau -Tibetan Plateau. Researchers involved in the project suggest that the cloud-seeding project is expected to increase rain in the area by up to 10 billion cubic meters per year.
Tens of thousands of fuel burning chambers will be installed across the plateau to produce a cloud-seeding agent silver iodide. So far, more than 500 burners have been deployed on alpine slopes in Tibet, Xinjiang and other areas for trial purposes. The process of cloud-seeding involves cloud-seeding chemicals such as silver iodide, potassium iodide which are seeded in the clouds through remote-controlled rockets or other dispersion devices to stimulate artificial rain.
The plan of artificial rain is an extension of a project called Tianhe or ‘Sky River’ developed by researchers in 2016 at China’s Tsinghua University with a hope to bring extra rain to a massive area spanning some 1.6 million square kilometers (almost 620,000 square miles).
Lei Fanpei, president of the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said:
“It will make an important contribution not only to China’s development and world prosperity, but also the well being of the entire human race.”
Prior to that, China is the country also known to manipulate rainfall for other purposes, such as countering the summer heat or clearing the skies for events such as the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Cloud-seeding is something scientists have been trying to pull off for decades now, and China is more deeply invested in the concept than anywhere else in the world. However, the completion date for the project remains unknown.