By Sasha Padbidri
The vagaries of nature be damned! The Chinese government has green-lighted plans to develop rainmaking technology during the next three to five years that would literally make it rain whenever they feel like the ol’ crops need a little watering. Part of the plans include using 7000 rocket launchers, at least 50 planes and nearly 7000 guns to launch silver iodide into the clouds to boost the probability of rainfall.
“Rainmaking technology in China lags behind the leading countries in the field by between 15 to 45 percent, depending on the region,” said Zheng Guo Guang, a leading meteorology expert. Part of the plans include using 7000 rocket launchers, at least 50 planes and nearly 7000 guns to launch silver iodide into the clouds to boost the probability of rainfall.
China’s weather patterns have been blighted by rapid urbanization during the last few decades, causing all sorts of problems from drought to desertification. In a bid to save the country’s agriculture from falling to ruin, the government spent nearly USD 266 million dollars on rain-making technology from 1995 to 2003. Recently, they pumped a further USD 25.3 million to aid drought-prone rural areas.
With this new measure comes a flood (pun intended) of concern regarding the usage of silver iodine. However, Wang Guang He, deputy director of the artificial weather intervention center under the China Meteorological Administration, dismissed those concerns, saying, “Very small doses of dry ice or silver iodide are used.” For our sakes, this better be true – According to The Office of Environment, Health and Safety at UC Berkley, “severe toxicity (of silver iodide) can result in hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, shock, enlarged hearts, severe argyria, and death by respiratory depression”. AHHH!