Since 2013 China has been creating 55 billion tons of artificial rain a year. The country is now embarking on its biggest rainmaking project ever.
In terms of the plan, announced this month, Chinese authorities intend to force rainfall and snow over 1.6 million sq km (620,000 sq miles), an area roughly three times the size of Spain.
According to media reports, the government will use new military weather-altering technology developed by the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. The country plans to build tens of thousands of combustion chambers on Tibetan mountainsides. The chambers will burn a solid fuel, which will result in a spray of silver iodide billowing towards the sky.
“More than 500 burners have been deployed on alpine slopes in Tibet, Xinjiang and other areas for experimental use. The data we have collected show very promising results,” an unnamed researcher told the Morning Post. “Sometimes snow would start falling almost immediately after we ignited the chamber. It was like standing on the stage of a magic show,” he said.
The Tibetan plateau is vital to the water supply for much of China and a large area of Asia. Its glaciers and reservoirs feed the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, and other major rivers that flow through China, India, Nepal, and other countries.
Sprayed from planes, the particles will provide something for passing water vapor to condense around, forming clouds. Those clouds will bring the rain. A single cloud-seeding chamber could create a strip of clouds covering a 5km area.