Friday, August 15, 2008

Triumph over nature

It is yet another attempt by man to triumph over nature.
Determined not to let anything spoil their party, organizers of the 2008 Summer Olympics proved that they will take control over the most unpredictable element of all -- the weather.
While China's Olympic athletes were getting ready to compete on the fields, its meteorologists were working the skies, attempting the difficult feat of making sure it doesn't rain on the Aug. 8 opening ceremonies and finally they could do the miracle. The glittering inaugural function had everything but rains!!!!!
The Chinese are among the world's leaders in what is called "weather modification," but they have more experience creating rain than preventing it. In fact, the techniques are virtually the same.
Cloud-seeding is a relatively well-known practice that involves shooting various substances into clouds, such as silver iodide, salts and dry ice, that bring on the formation of larger raindrops, triggering a downpour. But Chinese scientists believe they have perfected a technique that reduces the size of the raindrops, delaying the rain until the clouds move on.
The weather modification were used only on a small area, opening what would be in effect a meteorological umbrella over the 91,000-seat Olympic stadium. The $400-million stadium, nicknamed the "bird's nest" for its interlacing steel beams, has no roof.
Training with the Olympics in mind, the meteorologists have been practicing their "rain mitigation" techniques since 2006. They have had a couple of dry runs, so to speak -- a China-Africa summit and a panda festival in Sichuan province, among others.
The Chinese have been tinkering with the weather since the late 1950s, trying to bring rains to the desert terrain of the northern provinces.
The Chinese bureau of weather modification is believed to be the largest in the world. It has a reserve army of 37,000 people -- most of them sort of weekend warriors who are called to duty during unusual droughts. The bureau has 30 aircraft, 4,000 rocket launchers and 7,000 antiaircraft guns.
At present, Beijing has technology for artificially influencing weather conditions. It can control/eliminate small-scale rainfall using artificial rain elimination technology. There are several ways to influence weather conditions artificially, one of which is to adjust rainfall mechanisms by adding a catalyst to the clouds to stop rain. Another is to make the clouds rain in advance. As for the question of whether the catalyst added to the clouds will do harm to the environment,the chinese authorities said that what is added to the clouds is either liquid nitrogen or silver iodide. "Liquid nitrogen does not pollute the environment at all and we use just 1 gram of silver iodide per square km,"
" Chinese have the largest program in the world but it is not really the most advanced. That honor belongs to the Russians, who used sophisticated cloud-seeding in 1986 to prevent radioactive rain from the Chernobyl reactor accident from reaching Moscow


india-awake said...

interesting topic.

poor-me/പാവം-ഞാന്‍ said...

Very interesting subject narrated nicely.Thank you for the informtive artcle.kindly send mails when u post anew one.

Shibu said...

Can'nt find anything on preventing rain by addind catalysts. Yes Chinese ensured a dry weather on 8th Aug , but as far as i know they did it by ensuring no rain bearing cloud is left in the vicinity. They caused artificial rain and emptied the cloud.

Meenu khare said...

Dear Shibu,
the facts given are based upon the official releases of chinese

Anonymous said...

Dear Meenu Khare,

Its interesting to learn about 'science is interesting'. I remember your radio programme while I was in Lucknow a few years back. Trust you'll keep the boll rolling.


Manoj Patairiya

worldofvishwa said...

Dear Meenu,
You are doing a commendable service to spread love for science and also 'interesting' info in an interseting style.
Use of the phrase 'triumph over nature' sounds unfortunate to me. it seems to convey that nature is against us and we have to triumph over it.
We Inidans love nature and wish to learn from it and work with it.
I appreciate your effort to popularize science in these days of cheap entertainment.
Vishwa Mohan Tiwri
Air Vice Marshal (retd)

mahendra modi said...

Dear Meenu,
nice article.....i have come across your blog for the very first time..i was aware that you write for newspapers but as far as i remember, your field was humor and satire. i never knew that you have interest in science too.
how is my old friend mr. s.b.khare?