The weather is changing and we surely have experienced its effects from time to time. However, there is an aspect to ponder on and to understand if there’s a technique with which we can control the weather. The answer to this conception is yes. And artificial rain is that technology which has made it possible. Many places are adopting this technique to fight pollution and global warming.
What is Artificial Rain?
Artificial rain/ Cloud Seeding is a technique with the help of which latest technology is utilized to clone the actual rain process. Many times clouds in dry areas contain are moist but fails to produce rain. Herin special chemicals are artificially injected into the monsoon clouds. By making modifications that aims to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing some chemical substances into the atmosphere that works towards executing the process of condensation. Chemicals such as Calcium Oxide, compound of Urea and Ammonium Nitrate or Chloride Calcium Carbonate.
In simple words it is about changing the chemistry of potential clouds to initiate the raining process.
Vincent Joseph Schaffer was the first person to discover the artificial rain experiment in the year of November 13, 1946. The first experiment of artificial rain was conducted by General Electric Lab in the year of 1947 in Australia.
Science of Artificial rain process:-
The artificial rain is directed under certain conditions.
Here are the conditions to execute artificial rain:-
1) The relative humidity of the atmosphere must be more than 65%.
2) Requirement of mild chemicals and dry ice, etc. to lower the temperature to assist in the process of the formation of super cooled silver iodide.
3) Evening time must be preferred as the lower the temperature, the higher the chances of rain.
Artificial rain works on the principle of working on optimizing the temperature of the atmosphere in such that the cloud becomes capable of rain.
This process is commonly known as rain making, artificial precipitation, artificial rainfall and pluviculture
In drought stricken areas, many times the clouds are filled with moisture but aren’t unable to produce rain.
Before going forward with the process, experiments are conducted to check if it will work or not.
So here is how cloud seeding experiment is done:-
In this process, two planes are chartered towards the execution.
One of the planes is required to seed the cloud with mild chemicals such as calcium and potassium fluoride. The second plane does the job of analyzing the outcome of the process. Costing Insights of Cloud Seeding: Each Cloud Seeding flight cost up to Rs 10 Lakhs.
(i) Agitation: The first stage includes the use of chemicals to stimulate the air mass upwind of the target area to rise and form clouds. These chemicals absorb the water vapour and helps in the process of condensation. Chemicals like – Calcium Oxide, compound of Urea and Ammonium Nitrate, Chloride Calcium Carbonate, potassium fluorides, etc are used.
(ii) Building Up Stage: In the second stage the mass of the cloud is built up by urea, dry ice, cool chemical agents etc to make the cloud denser.
(iii) Seeding: In this stage, super cool chemicals and dry ice are ejaculated with pressurized canister shots onto the cloud base. This results in building of beads of water which accomplishes the rain process. This process is done in a situation when either the cloud is already formed or is formed artificially with the silver iodide.
After the seeding process the clouds get so dense that it results in the perspiration of those condensed clouds.
4) The process of sprinkling is conducted with the help of two burners or generators:-
Here is how it is done:-
- The weather department (cloud seeding officer) studies the data and decides as to what time the process will be initiated.
- The generators are switched on when the targeted cloud is reached. The super cooling chemicals like silver iodide cools down the cloud like ice.
- The cloud eventually perspires.
Countries that make Artificial Rain are:-
China, America, Australia, Russia, Israel, UAE, and up to 40 countries use this all across the world.
Advantage of artificial rain:-
(i) Draught: in drought stricken areas, this technique is used to suffice the deficit caused due to the lack caused.
(ii) Pollution: The artificial rain is used to bring down the pollution level too. It depends on various physical and cost related factors associated to it.
(iii) This technique has helped many farmers who are dealing with dryness and draught that affects the quality of crops.
Disadvantage of Artificial Rain
Just like every coin has two sides, so does this technique too. It has its own repercussions. Scientists doubt that this technique if heavily used can lead to the downfall of the quality of the soil and lead to water pollution owing to the chemicals used in accomplishing the process
India has successfully conducted experiments in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka in (2003-04) ,Tamil Nadu (1983, 1984-87,1993-1994), Andhra Pradesh (2008). Government is continuously working towards ensuring the efficacy of the artificial rain and bringing it into practice more frequently.