China's weather manipulation is the perfect set up for a special effects laden, all-star disaster movie
EARLY-NOVEMBER blizzards in and around Beijing caused roughly $650m (€434.7m) in damages, and have been called China's worst snowstorm in five decades. Snows essentially crippled the area, and even shut down the airports.
And China's recent activity in weather modification is being blamed for the storms.
Although the Chinese government has been proactive with its weather-changing program since 1995, the globe first took notice when China proclaimed that there would be no rain on the 2008 Summer Olympics.
And there wasn't, although who should take the credit for that has been up for debate.
The Beijing Weather Modification Office (love the name!) is in charge of these operations, employing 50,000, many in the field working at other jobs like farming, and when given the order, firing artillery shells loaded with silver iodide into the skies.
The Chinese method of cloud control is to essentially drain the clouds before the important ceremony. Not that the drought stricken areas of China, including those near the capital, don't need the water.
The Chinese government especially loves clear skies over Beijing on important days, whether historical or political.
[So if someone really wanted to, they could even blame the early November Beijing snowstorms on Obama! (Cover mouth, and snicker like a little kid.)]
Residents of the blizzard-blighted areas of China are angry that they haven't been given enough warning, pointing to the snowstorms' destruction and disruptiveness, wondering about the wisdom of tinkering with nature.
While the US-based Weather Modification Association (an organization I simply must join!) tells The Wall Street Journal, "Chinese weather modification... is a really closed program." personally, though, I'm very disappointed that the Chinese are using tried-and-true methods like cloud seeding, as opposed to something out of the SPECTRE playbook:
a hypersonic beam fired from a satellite in orbit to vibrate the clouds,
or the Zen-like methodology of using a butterfly flapping its wings in, say, Montreal causing a thunderstorm in Xiajin?
Then there's the old fave, sharks with lasers on their heads.
Cloud seeding first came to my attention when I was a kid: it was July 5 (for our non-US readers, that is the day after Independence Day), and my stepfather (the same one that taught me how to make my own gunpowder) told me that there would be a huge rainstorm in a few days. "All the gunpowder from the fireworks will seed the clouds," he said.
And despite the propensity for at least the occasional summer shower, there usually was a huge rainstorm a few days after July 4th in the New York City region--at least until the city cracked down on the citizens' right to blow stuff up on The Fourth of July.
Another form of cloud control, I suppose.