The Chinese authorities plan to launch a project to artificially control the climate in 56% of the country’s territory by 2025. An expert assures that this type of interference in nature is not dangerous.
China launched its own climate control program in the 1960s. One of the most prominent examples took place in Beijing in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics. Then it was possible to artificially induce rain to clear the smog from the sky.
Likewise, key political meetings held in the Chinese capital are famous for enjoying beautiful clear skies.
China’s program is aimed at increasing yields and responding more quickly to natural disasters. In January 2019, state media reported that cloud seeding tactics in the western Xinjiang region prevented 70% of hail damage.
How to exercise climate control
Climate management uses a technology called “cloud seeding“, which involves spraying silver iodide into the clouds.
“Clouds are a product of the condensation of water droplets in the atmosphere. When the water content of the clouds reaches the right conditions, it is necessary to spray silver iodide to make these droplets crystallize and increase the amount of precipitation. To do this, a special projectile is used, a nucleus that flies to the cloud breaks there and sprays the reagent,” Chen Ying, a researcher at the Institute of Ecology of Civilization of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences explained.
The expert assured that the seeding of clouds does not affect the global climate.
“Artificial climate change happens very quickly and very locally, it is a one-off operation. It does not affect the global climate. However, there are people in the world who think that China has an artificial rain management technology that can affect the global climate and China certainly will. This opinion is nonsense and even a provocation against China,” said the professor.
According to Business Insider, in June 2016 China allocated $ 30 million to develop the climate management project. A year later, another $ 168 million was allocated for the supply of equipment: four planes and 897 rocket launchers were purchased for spraying.
The concern of the neighbors
The total area of operation of artificial rain will reach more than 5.5 million square kilometers, and for the suppression of hail, it must go beyond 580,000 square kilometers, according to official data.
The expansion of the area of climate control worries Indian experts, who warn of the possibility of controlling rain and snow as a weapon. Furthermore, the country’s agriculture is heavily dependent on the monsoon, which has already been disrupted and made less predictable as a result of climate change.
However, the Chinese expert thinks that these types of statements are a provocation since the scale and characteristics of the technology simply do not allow it to do that.
“Artificially causing rain is a very local operation. It cannot affect any other country. It is only possible if something like this is done along the border itself. But even so, these operations are so local that they cannot harm the neighbors,” Chen Ying said.
More ambitious geoengineering projects
As indicated in the country’s State Council, by 2035 the project will be at a fairly advanced level and will help mitigate the effects of natural disasters such as drought and hail, as well as fight forest fires.
Some experts predict that success in modifying the climate could lead China to adopt more ambitious geoengineering projects, especially as the country suffers from the effects of climate change. For example, it involves Solar Radiation Management (SRM), which, in theory, will locally reflect sunlight to reverse global warming.
“Geoengineering has a technology that has not yet been implemented. It consists of spraying light-reflecting materials in the stratosphere at an altitude of 10,000 meters to cool the Earth,” said the expert, adding that this technology consists of creating artificial climatic events. In his view, implementing silver iodide to increase precipitation and control sunlight are “two completely different concepts.”
He also said that Chinese research on the management of solar radiation is in a preliminary stage: computer modelling.
“At present, no country in the world is authorized to carry out such large-scale experiments. This technology is very controversial,” he concluded.