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- Context (TH | TOI): Cloud seeding experiment in Solapur of Maharashtra resulted in 18% more rainfall than normal conditions.
- Solapur falls on the leeward side of the Western Ghats and hence normally gets low rainfall.
- Cloud seeding is a weather modification technology that artificially stimulates rainfall by spraying chemical substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation nuclei.
- Cloud condensation nuclei are small particles upon which water vapour condenses to form clouds.
- The chemical substances used are silver iodides, potassium iodides, dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) or liquid propane.
- It works only when there are enough pre-existing clouds in the atmosphere.
Different Cloud Seeding Methods
- Hygroscopic Cloud Seeding: Salts are sprayed through explosives in the lower portions of clouds.
- Static Cloud Seeding: Chemicals like silver iodide crystals are sprayed into clouds.
- Dynamic Cloud Seeding: Vertical air currents are boosted to encourage more water to pass through the clouds which translates into more rain.
Applications of Cloud Seeding
- Increases rainfall
- Regulates weather: Creates favourable microclimates by dispersing fog, suppressing hail, and modifying cyclones.
- Controls air pollution and water pollution
Limitations of Cloud Seeding
- Cannot mitigate drought: It can simply partially address the water requirements.
- Cannot produce rainfall from all clouds.
Challenges in Cloud Seeding
- Cause abnormal weather conditions: For e.g., when naturally less moisture place receives more rainfall, then it may cause flash floods.
- Harmful for environment and health: Chemicals used in cloud seeding are toxic.
- Contribute to global warming: The chemicals used in cloud seeding are a source of GHGs.