Cloud Seeding In The Contemporary World: Potential And Issues

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What is cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding is carried out by releasing compounds into the atmosphere that act as cloud nucleation or ice nuclei and influence the microphysical processes within the cloud. It is a sort of weather manipulation that tries to modify the frequency or nature of precipitation that falls from clouds.

One of the most essential resources for maintaining human life is water. Traditional sources and supplies of groundwater, rivers, and reservoirs in many parts of the world are either insufficient or threatened by the water needs of expanding people and changing agricultural use. Only a small portion of the moisture that is present in clouds is converted into precipitation that falls to the ground. This has spurred engineers and scientists to investigate the idea of using cloud seeding to increase water supplies. To increase precipitation for both glaciogenic and hygroscopic seeding studies, weather modification operations are discussed a lot.

Even while there are some signs that seeding can boost precipitation, several recent research has called into doubt many of the promising findings, lowering the credibility of the science. As a result, there is a lot of doubt about whether these techniques offer a practical way to boost precipitation for water resources. The field of precipitation augmentation has recently experienced some renewed optimism as a result of hygroscopic seeding efforts. Although encouraging findings have so far been obtained, numerous fundamental concerns must yet be resolved to give this technology a strong scientific foundation.

Methods of cloud seeding

When moisture builds up around airborne naturally occurring particles like dust and sand, the air reaches a saturation point where it can no longer retain the moisture and droplets fall as rain. This is when a downpour happens. By adding more “nuclei” for water droplets to cluster around and condense around, cloud seeding speeds up that process. Salts, dry ice, or silver iodide are examples of these nuclei. The most often used substances for cloud seeding are dry ice, potassium iodide, and silver iodide (solid carbon dioxide). Additionally, liquid propane that turns into gas has been employed.

cloud seeding

Hygroscopic materials, including table salt, are being used more frequently as a result of encouraging research. Increased snowfall occurs when cloud interior temperatures range from 19 to 4 °F (7 to 20 °C) during cloud seeding. When a material with a crystalline structure resembling ice is introduced, such as silver iodide, freezing nucleation will result. Cloud seeding can be done in three different ways:

Static Approach of Cloud seeding

In this approach, chemicals like silver iodide are dispersed into clouds. The crystal created by the silver iodide allows for the condensation of moisture. Although the clouds already contain moisture, silver iodide effectively increases the efficiency with which the water is released from them. Physical research and conclusions from statistical seeding trials point to a smaller window of opportunity for precipitation increase by static cloud seeding than was previously believed. The static mode of cloud seeding has been demonstrated to produce the anticipated alterations in cloud microstructure, including increased concentrations of ice crystals, decreased super-cooled liquid water content, and more rapid production of precipitation elements in both cumuli and orographic clouds; the window of opportunity for cloud seeding appears to be limited to this mode;

(1) Clouds are relatively cold-based and continental

 (2) Clouds having top temperatures in the range of —10 °C to —25 °C;

( 3) A timescale limited by the availability of significant supercooled water before depletion by entrainment and natural precipitation processes.

Dynamic Cloud Seeding

Increasing vertical air currents will encourage more water to move through the clouds, increasing the amount of rain. This technique is known as “dynamic cloud seeding.” In comparison to the static method, dynamic cloud seeding uses up to 100 times more ice crystals. Because it depends on a series of interconnected processes taking place as planned, the technique is seen as more difficult than static clouding seeding. Dynamic cloud seeding is broken down into 11 steps by Dr. William R. Cotton, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, and other experts.

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The method is less reliable than static cloud seeding because an unexpected result in one step could disrupt the entire effort.

Hygroscopic Cloud Seeding

Warm cloud seeding has been referred to as “hygroscopic seeding.” By encouraging the coalescence process with hygroscopic salt nuclei produced by pyrotechnic flares or a fine spray of extremely concentrated salt solution, the goal is to increase rainfall. Furthermore, Cooper et al. demonstrated how hygroscopic seeding could influence precipitation development by one of two different mechanisms:

(i)The introduction of the embryos that raindrops develop on.

(ii) Widening of the initial droplet size distribution, which causes all phases of coalescence to accelerate.

Advantages of cloud seeding

The following are cloud seeding’s main benefits.

Create rain

Cloud seeding may be the only method of bringing rain where it is desperately needed. People employ silver iodine to create rain in places with little to no precipitation. Rain helps maintain the soil moist and fertile, which is necessary for the growth of crops and other plants.

Boosts Economy

Farm products are grown where it rains. Better-yielding farms can boost the local economy and provide food for people (and even animals). In dry, arid areas, cloud seeding can significantly improve living conditions.

Regulates Weather

In a sense, cloud seeding enables us to manage the weather in a specific location. In addition to producing rain, it controls water vapor, preventing damage from deadly hail and storms.

Makes Dry Places More Livable

Local people have an impressive way of adapting to their natural environment. But inhospitable places rarely visited by rain can be inhospitable to tourists and foreigners. Cloud seeding can make such places livable

Disadvantages of cloud seeding

The following are the major disadvantages.

Potentially Dangerous Chemicals Required

The environment, and especially the plants that cloud seeding is meant to protect, may be harmed by the chemicals employed in the process. The effects of silver iodine on the environment have not been the subject of any thorough research. Iodism, a form of iodine poisoning where the patient has symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, skin rash, anemia, and diarrhea, among others, can be brought on by silver iodine. It has been discovered to be extremely poisonous to humans, animals, and fish.

Is not unflappable

Rain clouds are needed for cloud seeding. It can’t. work on any other cloud structures you like. Also, seeded clouds could move to another location. site without bringing rain to the destination location Consequently, one could argue Whether cloud seeding is indeed efficient when causing rain.

Cost of the process

Making artificial rain is incredibly expensive. Planes are required to transport the chemicals into the atmosphere, but they are difficult to find in areas with very low incomes. For cloud seeding to be used in impoverished regions experiencing drought or hunger, outside financing may be required.

Poses Weather Problems

Cloud seeding may result in unfavorable weather conditions, if not completely disastrous ones, such as flooding, storms, hail dangers, etc. if it is not adequately monitored or controlled. The infrastructure to handle such a large amount of precipitation is typically lacking in places that do not naturally receive much or any rain. These locations could soon flood as a result of cloud seeding, doing more harm than benefit.


 Many countries nowadays are struggling with the issue of water scarcity. Since water is essential to all facets of life, including the economy and health, Due to climatic changes, the threat of water scarcity is growing every day, which has very negative implications on human existence. The most crucial scientific technique that can aid in the alleviation of the water scarcity problem is cloud seeding, which lessens the impact of draughts on human existence. The expense and deterrent effects of this method can be reduced, which may make it more effective in the future for solving water scarcity issues.

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