As drought looms, could this team of scientists prove cloud seeding works?
The researchers had already made four flights in early January, before seeing the first signs of what they were looking for. The crew of meteorological scientists and students of the atmosphere had converged near the pool of the Snake River in Idaho, a horseshoe-shaped depression between the rows of the Rocky Mountains, which is 125 miles wider. Most of the state’s famous bubbles of arable land. Every day, the weather was normal – the ideal amount of super cooled to the ideal temperature and humidity – silver team iodide flew in the lint, baked and looked to see if it were more snow would not have stayed at home and They cling to their money.
It’s called planting clouds. And people sow small seeds in chemical swollen white masses, hoping to change the climate for about 70 years. But after all this time, no one knows for sure how it really works: when, or even if the practice is more snow falling, or how. That’s what the team behind snowie – an acronym for orchestrated and natural winter experience of Idaho winter clouds – came to discover.
“These problems have occurred from the beginning,” said Bob Rauber, a leading snowie researcher and professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He studied the phenomenon since the 1970s, although scientists have a computer model that calculates theoretical success, “we do not know if it’s just because we do not validate it,” he says.
On the day of the fifth flight on January 19, 2017, principal investigator Jeff French, assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Wyoming, was sitting inside a small propeller airplane King Air. The pilot flew at 14,000 feet and then down a few thousand. The air just above them was about 5 to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, which is ideal for the super-cooled liquid needed to make snow. The radar of the enlarged plane, as well as instruments that collect information on pressure, temperature, atmospheric water vapor and wind. Measurements were made in a set of computer processor racks packaged in four places, so it looks like the inside of a sound booth.
The Frenchman knew that about 1,000 feet above a second plane are sprouting silver iodide shoots, cylinders aligned like fireworks cartridges before a show begins. These were either burned in the air, leaving a trail of particles coming down, or coming out of the wings, and burned when gravity was put on Earth. But the French could not see the other plane. In fact, I could not see much at all. This is what flying in a cloud. What he could see was a supply of the aircraft on the real-time radar, which shows the structure of the cloud above and below it, and could see the sizes, shapes and concentrations of clouds of particles.
Beneath it, unseen, the earth has been uneven, with no trees, its highest points, covered with white. When it snows bottom bag of snow every spring, it empties into the basin below, providing Idaho residents not only water, but also domestic electricity from hydroelectric dams that have a large part of the state.
The loom above the French flew back and forth, leaving the silver iodide and, if successful, the zigzags drift snow in the mountains. His plane then sailed through these panels, instruments capable of seeing what the Frenchman himself might not: he could detect peaks of reflectivity which meant that the ice crystals flourished, he saw them travel with the times and discern perhaps if the snow appeared Where the chemicals of money fell.