Category Archives: China

Cloudy day in China? Just shoot them down.

A few days ago, reading a story in The Telegraph about the once-in-a-decade transfer of power in China, I saw a paragraph near the bottom of the piece that blew my mind.

Finally, China’s vaunted weather control technology is preparing for action to guarantee that the Congress’ 2,270 delegates enjoy nothing but cerulean skies.

Oh, no big deal, just put the fact that CHINA CAN CONTROL THE WEATHER in the second-to-last graf. What? What is this madness? China has elevated itself to God status and The Telegraph mentioned it offhand.

Well it turns out this really isn’t news. A quick search yielded a 2007 Asia Times story about China’s weather control program. The technology is run by Weather Modification Department, which at the time had a budget between $60 and $90 million. The tech isn’t actually as awesome as I thought (though I admit I was expecting something on the scale of Tony Stark’s arc reactor). Essentially, the Chinese have repurposed anti-aircraft weapons to literally shoot down clouds.

Instead, they grab rocket launchers and a 37-millimeter anti-aircraft gun and begin shooting into the sky. What they launch are not bullets or missiles but chemical pellets. Their targets are not enemy aggressors but wisps of passing cloud that they aim to “seed” with silver-iodide particles around which moisture can then collect and become heavy enough to fall.

None of this is all that new, however. The Chinese government has been looking into the issue since the 1950s, according to the Asia Times story. As if that’s not strange enough, the United States were among the pioneers of the weather-control research and in the 1970s entered into a treaty in the 1970s forbidding the use of weather control in warfare.

The Chinese used the technology most famously during the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the hopes of a rain-free opening ceremony. The Chinese government predicted the Aug. 8, 2008 event had a 50 percent chance of drizzle, but there were no signs of rain.

It looks as though the Chinese may have found the silver bullet.

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