CLOUD SEEDING (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env & Eco/Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     9th May 2024        
Samadhaan

Context: The Supreme Court recently informed the Uttarakhand government that rain gods or cloud-seeding would not extinguish the forest fires responsible for five deaths in the state.


Cloud Seeding

  • About: It is a weather modification technique that improves a cloud’s ability to produce rain or snow by introducing tiny ice nuclei into certain types of subfreezing clouds.
  • Cloud Seeding Methods
  • Static Cloud Seeding: It involves the dispersion of a chemical, like silver iodide, into clouds. This substance acts as a crystal around which moisture can condense, enhancing the efficiency of rain clouds in releasing water.
  • Dynamic Cloud Seeding: It focuses on amplifying vertical air currents, promoting increased water passage through clouds, resulting in more rainfall. This method employs up to 100 times more ice crystals compared to the static approach [source: Cotton].
  • Hygroscopic Cloud Seeding: It utilizes salts dispersed through flares or explosives in the lower sections of clouds. These salts grow in size as they merge with water. 
  • Process of Cloud Seeding

o Weather forecasters monitor atmospheric conditions and identify suitable clouds for seeding based on precipitation patterns. 

o This technique can increase rainfall by up to 30-35% in clear conditions and 10-15%  in more humid conditions.

Benefits of Cloud Seeding

  • Create more winter snowfall and lead to more mountain snowpack
  • Enhance the natural water supply to communities
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