Using Weather Manipulation Technologies for Good

May 15th, 2022

Cloud seeding, a process where iodine is launched into the clouds to attract water molecules, thus create rain. Newer technologies involve drones to emit sparks, these sparks would attract water molecules together to form rain. Drones, unlike cloud seeding, only uses electricity so the cost effectiveness is much higher. This technology is already used in the Middle East, namely Dubai, as there’s virtually no rainfall there.

  New weather shaping technologies have immense potential to reshape our response to severe weather conditions. This includes cloud clearing. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China cleared the skies for the opening ceremony, 10 minutes after it rained again. Unlike cloud seeding, this technology isn’t used often, there aren’t many innovations in that space due to lack of interest. However, couldn’t this same technology be used to prevent severe storms or rainfall? In 2022, Australia has experienced flash flooding which damaged or destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of buildings. We already have quite advanced weather detection systems, like seeing a relatively accurate picture of the weather for 14 days all around the world.

  So as soon as there’s a severe weather event, clear the clouds to reduce the potential damage of the storm/rainfall. In theory, since clouds are collections of water molecules that bound together, all we need to do is unbind enough of the clouds before it reaches the storm phase. The costs for research/investment into cloud clearing technologies, although expensive, it’s dwarfed by the immense damage heavy rain/storms can cause to individuals, families, towns and communities.

  Of course, the biggest risk is unforeseen consequences. If we keep clearing storms, then would they come back later in the future with greater ferocity? Bushfires have always been a great problem in Australia, especially with the expanding urban landscape. In the past, bushfires burnt through the land, where trees evolved to grow after a fire. Now, due to artificial suppression of fires, they isn’t regular fires that clear the vegetation and bark. Overtime this built up and up, even mega bushfires erupted, armed with decade’s worth of burnable materials. All because we put bushfires out, to prevent harm to the ever-growing urbanisation.