Monday, November 2, 2009

Seeding Snow

Beijing had a good snow on Sunday. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary. Except that the white stuff was man-made.

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Photo from AP

BEIJING – When I drew my curtains on Sunday morning to find thick snow falling outside, I thought something weird was going on.

Saturday had been gloriously warm and sunny. And even if the temperature had plummeted overnight, which it clearly had, Beijing winters are generally dry as a bone.

Monday morning, all was revealed. Beijing’s weathermen had been at work, it turned out, seeding the clouds to make it rain. Or snow, as it happened.

“We have to seize every opportunity to increase precipitation,” the head of the Beijing Weather Modification Office, Zhang Qiang, told the daily Global Times. “Beijing had almost no rainfall in October.”

You may not have a Weather Modification Office in your country. You don’t know what you are missing.

Read On
In the past, I've voiced my skepticism about the ability for these kinds of seeding programs to actually work. This latest snow storm sounds pretty legitimately man-made. Doesn't sound like it could've happened on its own without the push from the "Beijing Weather Modification Office."

I wonder what the limitations to creating rain/snow are. From the sounds of it, the circumstances need to be just right for any tinkering to work. It doesn't sound like rain/snow can just be turned on or off on any random day.

With water tables dropping and rivers dying and pollution continuing, North China needs all the water it can get. Last winter in Xi'an, we had a drought that went on for several months. The dry air combined with dusty and coal soot covered streets made for a pretty horrific atmosphere. For the sake of China and its people, I hope that seeding technology can be refined and used effectively.

5 comments:

Mark said...

My old Chinese teacher in Xi'an sent me a message on Sunday that I just read now.

Her fiance was in Beijing when the snow storm hit. For them, the snow was 麻烦的很。

你看到中国的新闻了吗?今天北京突然下大雪,200多驾飞机延误了,他们今天早上9点半(北京时间)到了北京,本来要坐下午2点半的飞机来西安,但是因为大雪,他们在机场等了7个小时,得到的通知是他们的飞机改在明天早上7点半起飞,不给他们安排宾馆,他们都穿的秋天的衣服,冷死了,唉,可怜啊!

Hopfrog said...

Timeline. Consider the timeline.

"Monday morning, all was revealed."

Sounds like Beijing is trying to take credit after the fact.

I remember coming home in middle school and my mom was watching a soap opera called 'General Hospital' and the major plotline was about bad guys that could control the weather. I remember thinking... come on! At least they could come up with something believable!

I've seen too much mind blowing stuff to rule it out, but I too am skeptical that Beijing makes it snow and cleared the sky for the Olympics.

Mark said...

Yeah, I'm really not so sure about all of this stuff. I'm sure the gov likes saying that it can control such stuff. I'm sure we'll only hear about the "successes" though. I wonder how many failures there are for every time it supposedly works.

Hopfrog said...

Yeah, very good point Mark. If I did a rain dance in my house everyday, I suppose the only times I would tell anyone about it is when it actually rained. Wouldn't that make me look sharp! Heck I'd even be able to justify my position as head of the Weather Modification Office. More I think about it, I am calling total BS on this until they actually call their shot before it happens, ala Babe Ruth pointing to right field.

spa products said...

I bet this the cold can kill me!