China funds cloud seeding

Updated: 2012-05-15 17:12


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BEIJING - China's central government is to launch a special fund to support weather modification operations by local authorities in areas prone to drought and haze, according to a Ministry of Finance (MOF) announcement on Tuesday.

It is the first such resource to subsidize local efforts to adjust the weather, with 160 million yuan ($25.4 million) allocated to the fund arranged through the central government budget.

According to a joint statement from the MOF and the China Meteorological Administration, state subsidies for weather modification will go to work designed to bring about artificial rain and snow enhancement, hailstone prevention, and snow and fog reduction by using aircraft, guns and rockets.

Provincial-level governments should support weather modification with local revenues and can apply for a national allowance only after they have run into fiscal problems, according to the statement.

Apart from its role in reducing natural disasters, weather modification is used in China to explore airborne water resources, improve the ecological environment, and help secure water for industrial and urban uses.

China has resorted to modification to prevent the usually unpredictable weather from disrupting major events, such as the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Weather modification usually refers to cloud-seeding practices that involve shooting various substances into clouds, such as silver iodide, salts and dry ice, to bring on the formation of larger raindrops and trigger downpours, as well as clear haze and clouds.