Not satisfied with providing us with a horde of smiling hostesses and an Opening Ceremony that is being billed as spectacular, the Chinese are looking to weather control to ensure a rain free ceremony. With seven months until the 2008 Olympic Games get under way; the Beijing Meteorological Bureau had developed a method to minimize rain on the day.
The Bird’s Nest stadium, home to the opening ceremony, the chance of a dampened start to the festivities was considerable. Thus, a plan was devised.
"Our experiments with rain mitigation have been aimed at light rain," said Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation at the bureau. "With heavy rain it is more difficult. The results with light rain have been satisfactory."
There are two strategies that are being used to control the rainfall, and according to Ms. Qian, both are doing absolutely no harm to the environment.
"For cold clouds below zero degrees, we use a coolant made from liquid nitrogen to increase the number of droplets while decreasing their mean size," she said."As a result, the smaller droplets are less likely to fall and precipitation can be reduced.
"For clouds above zero degrees we use the seeding agent silver iodide to accelerate the droplets' collision and coalescence, producing a downdraft which suppresses the formation of clouds."
Despite the somewhat futuristic picture painted by controlling the weather, China has been using weather manipulation for some time, in an effort to increase rainfall in the north of the country. Using anti-aircraft guns, they fire seeding agents in to the clouds.
The processes involved are very complex, and Wang Yubin suggests another method to ensure a dry start to the Games. These methods, while aimed at stopping the rainfall, can also induce the rainfall. Thus, if a front is approaching, they hope to induce it before it gets to the stadium.
All in all, the Olympic Games in China are bound to be one to remember.
Posted by Josh Hill.
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