China makes artificial rain for Beijing
Updated: 2006-05-06 09:22
Chinese weather specialists used chemicals to engineer Beijing's heaviest
rainfall of the year, helping to relieve drought and rinse dust from China's
capital, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
A 2003 file photo
showing people in the rain in front of the Great Hall of the People in
Beijing. Chinese technicians have artificially generated heavy rainfall to
wash a layer of sand and dust off Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency
said on Friday. [Reuters]
Technicians with the Beijing Weather Modification Office fired seven rocket
shells containing 163 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide over the city's
skies on Thursday, Xinhua said.
The reaction that occurred brought as much as four-tenths of an inch of rain,
the heaviest rainfall this year, helping to "alleviate drought, add soil
moisture and remove dust from the air for better air quality," Xinhua said.
Though unusual in many parts of the world, China has been tinkering with
artificial rainmaking for decades, using it frequently in the drought-plagued
north. Last month, another artificial rainfall was generated to clear Beijing
after the city suffered some of the fiercest dust storms this decade.
Whether cloud-seeding actually works has been the subject of debate in the
scientific community. In 2003, the U.S.
National Academy of Sciences
questioned the science behind it as "too weak."