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  • Now it's hard to measure the effectiveness of cloud seeding that's adding a chemical to clouds to increase rain or snowfall.

  • The weather doesn't follow human plans, and getting the right conditions for repeated scientific studies is hard to do.

  • But though the side effects of cloud seeding are still unknown, and though it's also not clear if there's an economic benefit to doing so, new science is shedding light on its potential.

  • It's almost if you guys were creating clouds out of nowhere, you actually target storm systems.

  • If there's no clouds in the sky that have any moisture in them, then way can't do anything.

  • What we can do is tap into what's there and assist Mother Nature kind of like a steroid kick for the clouds or something way in all of its forms.

  • Water powers our very existence.

  • A droplets epic journey from sky to see is an elegant loop that sustains all life on this planet.

  • But today about a billion people are living in water scarce areas in the United States.

  • There's California, where in one single year a historic drought cost the state over 10,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion in lost revenue.

  • But what if we could hack into the water cycle and unlock more precious water from the clouds?

  • A decades old technology long shunned by science may hold the key.

  • Since the 1946 experiments of Dr Vincent Schaefer, we have known that some clouds can be modified through seeding to yield additional precipitation.

  • What exactly is cloud seeding?

  • Cloud seeding is really an enhancement of the natural precipitation process, so basically you're just making the storm or efficient getting more moisture out of it exactly at To do that, pilots target clouds full of moisture and eject small amounts of an inert chemical.

  • Then the water in the cloud condenses around the new particles and gets heavy, falling to the ground as precipitation.

  • Brian Kindred is one of the company's pilots.

  • He steers right into the heart of storms to fire off a special kind of pyrotechnics.

  • And what's inside of these guys?

  • It's a silver iodide mixture, the ideas that will be above some liquid water, and as it's falling through, it'll turn into snow.

  • Silicon fall out of the cloud.

  • Since the 19 forties, people have been seeding clouds and watching the effects with their own eyes.

  • But there's always been something missing the cold, hard scientific evidence to back it up.

  • In 2017 the National Science Foundation funded a study to determine cloud seatings effectiveness.

  • Weather Modification International provided the planes.

  • A team of scientists set out into the Idaho mountains with Doppler radars and state of the art weather stations to record what happens on the ground when planes above our cloud seeding radar images show how ice crystals formed in the clouds in the exact pattern that whether modifications pilots were flying.

  • But there's still questions about its long term effects.

  • How does making it rain in Idaho affect what happens?

  • Estate over, who owns the precious water in those clouds and the effects of silver iodide on the environment are still debated.

  • For now, national weather bodies have yet to endorse the practice of cloud seeding.

  • E think that people get a little anxious when they hear about people sort of playing the weather God, which in a way you guys are kind of doing here.

  • We're not really playing God.

  • I think that's really overstating what we're doing.

  • Human activity effects, the weather all of the time we're being very specific and targeted, environmentally friendly in what we're doing to enhance the national natural precipitation, enhance the natural process.

  • It turns out that some companies will pay million's to enhance the weather companies like Idaho Power.

  • The company serves more than 500,000 customers with the network that includes 17 hydro electric power plants.

  • To them, water is money.

  • Let's do this.

  • Idaho Power has invested over $3 million in the cloud seeding program to increase the snowpack at the state's highest peaks.

  • Why is it so essential to increase the snowpack up here?

  • Because we're on the front end in the top end of the food chain for water.

  • So that's what feeds our streams and rivers and feeds our hydro system later in the summer and fall.

  • And that's really when we need that extra energy.

  • How much for interpretation are we talking about in regards to the increase in snow pack?

  • As a result of these systems, we're seeing generally in that 8 to 15% increase.

  • How many homes can that power like?

  • What are you getting out of that?

  • On average, that's in excess of 60,000 homes, according Toa, Idaho power.

  • Last year's cloud seeding program has provided a 300% return.

  • That's $9 million worth of water that otherwise might have never fallen on these mountaintops.

Now it's hard to measure the effectiveness of cloud seeding that's adding a chemical to clouds to increase rain or snowfall.

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Can Science Make It Rain?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/23
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