Development | VOL. 16, ISSUE 97 July-August 2016

Seeding Clouds to Spout Rain

Cloud seeding is a method of enabling inefficient clouds to bring rain, or enhance rainfall from a seedable cloud by introducing seeding material. The secondary effect of evaporation from falling precipitation improves the thermodynamic efficiency of the environment to form fresh convective clouds and more rain. This principle is used to enhance rainfall and reduce pollution. Two types of seeding—‘ground’, using generators and rockets, and, ‘aerial’ seeding using aircraft are possible. Based on the type of cloud to be seeded (warm or cold) to enhance precipitation or snow; hygroscopic seeding using salt as spray from the base of a cloud and cold cloud seeding using silver iodide as spray from the top of the cloud may be deployed. Need for seeding The increase in rainfall due to cloud seeding can depend on many factors such as cloud size, liquid water content of the cloud and prevailing atmospheric conditions. Seeding is done on individual cloud cells, and sometimes, on clusters of clouds. The availability of suitable clouds depends on weather conditions. If more suitable clouds are available, a lot more area is covered. Cloud seeding however, cannot mitigate drought conditions. But, timely rainfall produced through cloud seeding, even in small quantities can help the survival of crops in stressed conditions. Similarly, cloud seeding if carried out in a targeted manner over catchment areas have been found...

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