Chinese Rockets to Combat Rain at Olympics

July 18, 2007 05:56 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Having claimed to bring rain to arid regions of China, Beijing’s Weather Modification Office is set to unleash cloud-busting ordnance to keep the 2008 Olympic Games dry.

30-Second Summary

On July 16, 2007, China’s Meteorological Association announced it would use rockets to destroy any cloud that threatened the blue skies above the ‘08 Olympic Games in Beijing.

State-controlled weather may sound improbable, but Russia used similar techniques to prevent rain at a military parade in 2005.

Plus, China’s Weather Modification Office has recently claimed a number of successes of its own.

In April 2007, China announced a technological first in precipitating snowfall. More than half an inch fell over the city of Nagqu, allegedly thanks to human intervention.

Dry farmlands in northern China are also reported to benefit from “cloud-seeding” technology.

The theory behind the technique is relatively straightforward. Rain forms when small droplets of water in a cloud clump together until they are too large to be suspended in the air. Cloud-seeding introduces particles into the cloud to trigger that process.

Despite China’s optimism regarding Beijing, the efficacy of cloud-seeding is hard to ascertain. To do that, meteorologists would need to be certain that rain wouldn’t have fallen without intervention.

Since weathermen aren’t infallible, no one knows whether China’s rockets really can guarantee blue skies for the Olympics.

Headline Links: China shoots for a dry Olympics

Reference Material: Does cloud-seeding work?

Background: State-controlled rain and snow

History: U.S. Project Stormfury


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines