By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, September 12: A group of Chinese scientists have proposed cloud seeding on a massive scale on the Tibetan plateau to generate water for China’s arid north as its water crisis deepens.
By launching planes and rockets to intercept the passing vapour and seed it with chemicals to create rain which will eventually flow into rivers, the scientists proposes to resolve water issues of China’s arid north, reports scmp.com, Sept 12.
The proposed plan of cloud seeding in the skies above Tibet and the neighboring region will create more than five billion cubic meters of water a year in rain to flow into the Yellow River, which amounts to nearly twice the Beijing’s annual water consumption. The feasibility study is funded by the Qinghai provincial government, the report adds.
“Between the boundary layer and troposphere in the atmosphere exists a stable, orderly channel for water vapour transportation called ‘Sky River’,” the state-run Xinhua quoted Wang Guangqian, President of Qinghai University and head of the research project as saying in its report.
Previous weather intervention efforts carried out in China have been limited to a small region over short timescales, such as ahead of the Apec meeting in Beijing two years ago.
Cloud seeding would only work under certain favourable conditions and in most cases it could not increase natural rainfall by more than 10 per cent, Fang Hao, a researcher at the Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection was quoted as saying in the report.
According to Han Jianhua, the Deputy Governor of Qinghai, the ‘Sky River’ project tops the province’s five-year plan and initial funding for the purchase of cloud seeding planes and other hardware had already been approved.