China is looking to expand its weather control program, making it possible to trigger artificial rain or snowfall in over half the country by 2025.
Weather control involves “seeding” clouds with silver iodide or liquid nitrogen to trigger precipitation. The concept of cloud seeding was initially discovered in 1946 by a General Electric chemist in the US. While a number of countries have weather control programs, China’s is the largest. The country has used antiaircraft guns and military aircraft to seed clouds, although usually on a local level.
As ecological problems continue to escalate, however, weather control has increasingly been looked as a way to combat drought, wildfires and more. As a result, according to The Guardian, the Chinese government plans to rapidly expand the program to cover roughly 56% of the country by 2025.
The government wants to take it a step further, expanding the program to reach an “advanced” level by 2035, one that would allow it to “focus on revitalising rural regions, restoring ecosystems and minimising losses from natural disasters.”
As The Guardian points out, however, China’s plans are not likely to be welcomed by its neighbors. The scale China is working towards could impact weather on a regional level. It remains to be what fallout there may be.