China is now the most trigger-happy cloud-seeder in the world. In 2011, China spent $150 million on a single regional artificial rain program; it’s unclear how much other local governments spend. The US, by comparison, spends around $15 million a year. It now creates 50 billion tonnes (55 billion tons) of artificial rain a year. That compares with an average of 36 billion tonnes a year (40 billion tons) from 1999 to 2006.
As water grows scarcer and air pollution more severe, China plans to seed even more clouds. The State Council, China’s cabinet, is now mulling a proposal to beef up natural disaster monitoring and response measures, including more fake rain (links in Chinese). Last year, the head of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) revealed that under its new “weather modification program” it would use cloud-seeding to boost precipitation by 254 billion tonnes (280 billion tons).
The CMA has plans to seed clouds for private enterprises like farms or hydropower stations, Zheng Guoguang, the head of the CMA, told the China Daily in 2012.
SOURCES – Vanity Fair, China Meteorlogical Administration, Quartz (qz.com)