Faced with drought, China is attempting to quell rain with chemical projectiles

Faced with drought, China is attempting to quell rain with chemical projectiles

The country uses silver iodide, which is put in clouds to try to force rain down the Yangtze River. The river is almost dry due to the drought in the country.

Can China make it rain or shine? At least that’s what the country is trying to do in several provinces along the Yangtze River, in the center of the country. With the drought currently plaguing China, Hubei province became the latest to announce its participation in cloud seeding operations on Wednesday, according to American broadcaster CNN.

To implement this technique, Chinese planes use silver iodide thrown into the clouds with small cylindrical projectiles the size of a cigarette. The introduction of chemicals is said to allow the growth of the droplets and ice crystals that form the clouds, thus facilitating precipitation.

However, the results of these operations remain mixed for now. The fault lies in the thin cloud cover over the river in the last few days.

A method already used in China

According to France 24, cloud seeding has been used in China for a long time, as far back as the 1940s.

The country has the largest weather modification program in the world and, for example, used it in 2008 to force rain just before the Beijing Olympics and keep the weather dry during the event.

Other countries such as the USA, Russia or the United Arab Emirates have already used these methods in the past. They can also be used to reduce the effects of hailstorms or to control some winter snowfall.

The south of the country has been suffering from drought since June

Recent attempts to make it rain are aimed at feeding the Yangtze. China’s longest river has completely dried up in places. Like several countries such as France and the United Kingdom, China is experiencing a particularly dry summer.

In Hubei province, for example, at least 150,000 people have difficulties accessing drinking water. 400,000 hectares of crops were also damaged by the high temperatures and lack of rainfall.

The drought of the rivers also affects the production of hydroelectric power. Factories in Sichuan province were forced to close due to power outages. On Tuesday, the Chinese government announced that the Three Gorges Dam, the country’s largest, would increase production.