The largest freshwater lake in China has turned into a dry plain. There is even a record drought in the south of the country. China’s Ministry of Agriculture wants to do everything it can to prevent crop damage. So the Chinese have to save water and the country will rain it using a controversial method.
By manipulating the clouds, the Chinese are trying to raise the water level in the Yangtze River. This manipulation of clouds is also called rain clouds the name of the thing.
“Planes are flying over the clouds,” explains meteorologist Maurice Midendorp. “Then they scatter the chemicals. For example, silver iodide, or ice crystals that end up in the cloud. The water droplets will stick to it, and that cloud gets heavier and bigger and then it rains in a certain place.”
China is not the only country that uses this method, it sometimes happens in Russia and Dubai. In principle, this technique can be applied anywhere in the world, but you need some moisture in the air, says Middendorp. “So the clouds, which can scatter those chemicals on. If the air is too dry, that won’t work.”
The whole atmosphere is upset
rain clouds So you don’t want to use it to make it rain in case of wildfire. “So you’re dealing with a very dry kind of air and he doesn’t want that.” In addition, an error can also occur. In Dubai last year, for example, where there were major floods after the rains. In addition, whatever falls because of this will not fall elsewhere,” Middendorp says. “And these can also be places that really need rain.”
Moreover, the chemicals used are not undisputed, says Middendorp. “The whole atmosphere is turbulent because of it and what its long-term effect is, we don’t know. That makes it more dangerous.”
Manipulating clouds is not the only way to influence the climate. Bart Verheggen, a climate specialist at RTL, says reflecting the sun’s rays back into space is one way to ensure it’s cooled. “This can be done, for example, by making the clouds whiter with the help of sea salt. Then they reflect more sunlight and cool off.”
Another example you hear a lot about, Verheijen says, is simulating a large volcanic eruption. “A large amount of sulfur is also released into the upper air layers. This reflects more solar radiation, temporarily making it cooler.”
Because of the severe drought, things are also coming to the surface in Spain:
He emphasizes once again that such methods are very controversial. “Also because it has side effects. It can cause certain areas to dry out, like the Amazon. Another side effect that can happen is that the ozone layer gets damaged more. We don’t want that either.”
Reduce carbon dioxide emissions
There is also the question: who will decide how much we want to cool down and whether we want it at all. “The effects are not uniform across the world,” Verheijen says. So countries will not quickly agree on where to put the thermostat knob.”
The best option remains to tackle the global warming problem at the source, says the climate specialist. “By reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”
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