Hailstones, some nearly 2cm in diameter
We've had some pretty heavy rain here over the past few days, which culminated on Tuesday with the darkest daytime skies and windiest thunderstorm we've ever experienced in Simao. For 10 minutes giant hailstones fell from the sky and the temperature dropped about 5 degrees. It was no surprise to find out that it's all to do with the artificial cloud-seeding that's been going on all over Yunnan since Sunday. Batteries of rockets containing silver iodide were fired into potentially rain-bearing clouds in an attempt to provide a nucleus for the rain to form on and so stimulate a downpour. In Xishuangbanna and Simao prefectures this seems to have worked pretty well, but further north in the areas worst affected by the drought the induced rainfall wasn't nearly as heavy or prolonged. People here don't seem to be that bowled over by the technology or the ethical considerations (or adverse side-effects, such as crops being destroyed by falling marbles of ice!) of tampering with nature. After all, China has a long history of battling with elemental forces (the taming of the flood-prone Yangtze and Yellow rivers springs to mind) and folk are used to their lives being controlled by the government, to a much greater extent than we experience or would tolerate in the UK! To publically question the worth of this weather modification is not even considered.

1/4/2010 12:05:56 am

Helmets on!


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