Cloud Seeding: Fact Not Fiction

May 28, 2024

Until a couple of months ago, I had never heard of this term before, so thought I would share with others.

Cloud seeding, a form of weather modification, is not currently being actively pursued in the UK. Historically, cloud seeding experiments were conducted in the UK, notably in the 1950s. The most infamous of these experiments is believed to have potentially contributed to the Lynmouth flood in 1952, though this remains a topic of debate among meteorologists and historians​ (Wikipedia)​​ (Gov UK)​.

As of recent years, there have been no significant government-supported initiatives or widespread adoption of cloud seeding in the UK. This information is consistent with official government documents, which indicate that current weather modification techniques, including cloud seeding, are not in active use within the country​ (Gov UK)​.

For more detailed historical context and technical information, you can refer to the UK government’s publication on weather modification and historical experiments available here (Gov UK)​.

Cloud seeding is actively conducted in California. Various programs aim to enhance precipitation and bolster water supplies, particularly during drought periods.

For instance, the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) has initiated a four-year cloud seeding pilot program starting in November 2023. This program targets increasing precipitation by 5-15% in the Santa Ana River Watershed, which spans Riverside, San Bernardino, and Orange Counties. The cloud seeding process involves releasing silver iodide particles from ground-based units during storm events to encourage ice and snow formation in clouds, thus enhancing rainfall and snowpack​ (SAWPA)​​ (Water Education Foundation)​​ (Association of California Water Agencies)​.

Additionally, Santa Barbara County has been engaged in cloud seeding for over 40 years to augment local water supplies. This program also uses silver iodide as a seeding agent to increase precipitation in targeted areas​ (County of Santa Barbara)​.

These efforts are part of broader water management strategies to address water scarcity and enhance water supply reliability in California.

Closer to home, cloud seeding is used in France, primarily for agricultural purposes, such as protecting vineyards from hail damage. The technique has been employed since the 1950s, focusing on reducing the impact of severe weather on crops. In particular, vineyards in regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux use cloud seeding to prevent large hailstones from forming, which can devastate grape production​ (Wikipedia)​​ (Netweather)​.

So there you have it, much of the talk is about climate change and I would love to hear more debate about the use of this practice on public fora.

 

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