Chinese State Media is again reporting the Chinese government has successfully seeded clouds in and around Beijing to generate precipitation – this time, widespread early-season snowfall. Such weather modification efforts are not new to China, although their rate of success is dubious.
While the seeding efforts were localized to the Beijing region, snowfall was reported in several provinces, including Liaoning,Jilin and Hebei.Â Chinese media reports government officials as hailing the efforts as a success.Â “We wont miss any opportunity of artificial precipitation since Beijing is suffering from the lingering drought,” the report quoted Zhang Qiang, head of the Beijing Weather Modification Office, as saying.
This effort comes on the heals of other claims of weather modification successes.Â Moscow recently declared it would enjoy a winter without snow, as cloud seeding efforts were underway aimed at forming precipitation outside of city limits.Â It is hoped that such efforts would sap the clouds of significant moisture before the clouds moved over Moscow, thus reducing the headaches caused by Moscow’s traditionally heavy urban snowfall.
Cloud seeding efforts aimed at producing precipitation has had a long, checkered history around the world.Â While China is employing these efforts to alleviate a substantial drought, other similar precipitation-inducing efforts have been attempted as a means of weakening hurricanes, causing precipitation to fall earlier or outside of a given region, and enhancing snowfall on ski slopes.
This is not the first time the state-run media has made such a claim.Â In 2008, the Chinese government openly acknowledged weather modification efforts aimed at reducing smog pollution before and during the Olympic Games.Â While the smog was significantly reduced during the games, such results could not be specifically tied to the weather modification efforts, as other smog-reduction efforts were simultaneously employed, such as substantially reducing vehicular traffic in the city.
More recently, China induced snowfall in a similar manner last winter, resulting in highway closures and stranding of thousands of travelers.