What is cloud seeding? It is a scientific procedure of weather manipulation that alters a cloud’s capability to produce rainfall by dispersing cloud condensation agents into the air. These agents act as ice nuclei and basically manipulate the intrinsic mechanisms of cloud formation. There are three types of cloud seeding techniques:
- The basic principle of this technique is to increase the precipitation efficiency of the clouds. Chemicals like silver iodide can act as a seeding agent and provide a nucleus for the moisture already inside the clouds to condense, thus rendering the clouds more efficient in precipitating their water content. The process of dispersing silver iodide to bring about rain is called static cloud seeding.
- By employing the dynamic cloud seeding technique, the vertical air currents are boosted, as a result of which higher amounts of moisture pass through the clouds. This water is eventually transformed into rain. This technique is very similar to the previous one and uses the same tools and materials, the difference being in the amount of chemicals used. Dynamic seeding uses more than one hundred times the amount of the seeding chemicals (like dry ice or silver iodide). When the sprayed silver iodide turns water vapor inside the clouds into ice crystals, latent heat is released. When an enormous amount of heat is released, it increases the upward drift of moisture containing air (updrafts or thermals), eventually increasing the amount of water available to be cooled and crystallized to ice.
- The third technique is called hygroscopic cloud seeding. In this process, salts are dispersed through flares or explosives in the lower regions of the clouds. The salts gradually increase in size as more and more moisture condenses around them.
Environmental scientist David Keith makes a case in favor of cloud seeding and solar engineering as a potential solution to Climate Change. He acknowledges the potential for misuse, but argues that this is an idea that should be seriously considered. Read more…