China claim that it had managed to control its weather, successfully, which was right ahead of their major political celebrations. This happened back in 2021 and was as per the reports by a Beijing University study.
The Communist Party of China marked its centenary on July 1 and celebrated it in a large way by inviting more than tens of thousands of people to Tiananmen Square. According to a research paper by Tsinghua University, a large-scale cloud-seeding operation was held earlier to the celebrations, which was done to “ensure low levels of pollution and clearer skies”.
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China supports cloud-seeding technology and has spent billions of dollars to manipulate its weather and claim that this effort helped them to “improve important events or protect its crops”. One of the major events that it supposedly improved was the 2008 Olympics.
China’s Cloud-Seeding Technique Has Gained Massive Attention
Cloud-seeding a basically a technique to modify the weather. It adds chemicals like silver iodide (small particles) to the clouds, which causes the water vapor to accumulate around them, eventually increasing the chances of precipitation.
China had invested billions in weather modification, even though they had doubts about its effectiveness and debated if altering the weather in one region would affect the systems elsewhere.
The South China Morning Post published a report where they claim that cloud-seeding technology had led to a massive drop in levels of air pollution.
The centenary celebrations faced unprecedented challenges, as reported by the papers. They saw an unexpected rise in levels of air pollution during one of the wettest summers. The Chinese government had also halted some of the factories nearby to cripple the rise.
Wang Can, who is an environmental science professor, stated that a 2-hour cloud-seeding operation was initiated on the eve of the centenary celebration and residents saw rockets shoot up into the sky on June 30. The rockets were reported to carry silver iodide into the clouds to instigate rainfall. The rain that followed reduced the level of PM2.5 air pollution by more than 60% and the air quality ratings shifted to “good” from “moderate”, as per the WHO.
The team added that the artificial rain was the only disruptive event during this period, so no natural cause could be attributed to the drop in pollution levels.
Beijing made plans, previously, to expand the weather modification operation to an area of around 5.5 million sq km, which would be covered by artificial snow or rain. The Chinese State Council aimed to develop the weather modifying system by the year 2025, which also included half a million square kilometers hosting hail suppression technologies.
The state media claimed in 2017 that the communist nation had spent around $1.3 billion on this technology and had managed to induce approximately 233.5 billion cubic meters of artificial rainfall. The official report in 2019 stated that the firing of iodide shells to falter the weather had reduced 70% of hail damage, which happens every year in Xinjiang.
The cloud-seeding technology had also been utilized for political events like the 2014 APEC summit, National Day parades, and even before the annual Two Sessions meetings.
The manipulation of weather is also known as “blueskying” and is used along with social changes which include the shutdown of factories and other major polluting industries. According to Dr. Shiuh-Shen Chien, of National Taiwan University’s department of geography, in a 2019 essay for Society+Space, they even encouraged people to stay off the streets or even leave the region. He added that the weather authorities in China had “institutionalized” climate controls for decades and made attempts to do so since the 80s. The only thing that makes it unique for China is that they have not only used this technology for agricultural or commercial reasons but also to spread their “propaganda”.
Editor’s note: Featured image is only a representation, not actuall image of cloud seeding in China