Making The Heavens Open Up With Cloud Seeding Drones

By: | November 26th, 2014

Droughts, Adverse Weather & Atmospheric Modification

IndustryTap has reported on the Los Angeles’ “Water Supply Action Plan” but the drought in California is turning out to be worse that initially thought. Drought action plans may not be enough to prevent the need for massive migrations of people out of California as desert like conditions spread. Texas too is behind the “8 Ball” with dozens of communities having less than 90 days supply of water. At the moment 58% of California and 71% of Texas are experiencing severe drought with no end in sight.

Cloud Seeding Drones To The Rescue?

With unprecedented drought in the US and abroad and the new availability of drones, we can expect new weather modification programs that attempt to “fix” increasingly frequent droughts.

Quick History Of Weather Modification

In 1966, Homer Newel, Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications at the National Aeronautics & Space Administration, presented a report “A Recommended National Program In Whether Modification.” The report cited the weather’s impact on agriculture, forestry, water resources, industry, commerce, transportation, construction, commercial fishing and many other human activities, all negatively impacted by adverse weather conditions.

For the previous 20 years, starting in about 1940, government funded scientists attempted weather modification through the use of material such as silver iodide crystals to “seed clouds” which they believed increased precipitation by 10 to 20%, while reducing the frequency of forest fires caused by lightning strikes.

A company called “Weather Modification Inc. was started in 1961 to help North Dakota, an area with a significant area of desert, fight drought and frequent hail storms.

At the same time the Texas legislature passed the Weather Modification Act and issued licenses and permits for weather modification programs, some of which are still in existence today.

Over the years, cloud seeding programs have been created for both military and civilian use. According to Bill Silver, a former pilot at McClellan Air Force Base, Super King Air and Turbo Commander Turboprops were used to seed clouds on the Western Sierra Nevada Mountains in northern California. The seeding was thought to increase the snowpack, which would melt and fill reservoirs downstream throughout California.

In spite of all the activity related to “cloud seeding” and weather modification, there has never been conclusive evidence that the process actually works. Documentary’s have shown that advocates of cloud seeding make remarkably convincing arguments about its efficacy, but never deliver much in the way of peer-reviewed and scientifically tested results. And if the process does work, there have never been any studies about the possible negative impact on the biosphere.

Can Drones Make Weather Modification Better

With what is at stake, i.e. the migration of millions of Californians and Texans to the South East and East Coast, we are likely to see economic arguments made as to how cloud seeding programs can be more successful with the use of drones.

It has long been reported that cloud seeding from the ground is less effective than cloud seeding from planes. But planes require expensive fuel  and crews. Drones eliminate crews, reduce the size of the plane necessary for delivery and run more efficiently than larger planes.

China currently uses drones to clear air over Beijing and other polluted cities when events take place that would be negatively impacted by smog. Chemicals “zap” pollution in the air, causing it to fall to the earth. But are these chemicals safe?

In future IndustryTap articles, we will look at the process of “cloud seeding” to both increase and prevent rain as well as newer technologies and associated patents for geoengineering, hurricane hacking, cloud ionization, electric rainmaking, and laser guided weather modification.

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References and related links:

Can California Make It Rain With Drones? –
RGJ: Drones could help cloud seeding – NCET: Business. Technology. Events.
Arbitrary Link | Reno Gazette-Journal |

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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