Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cloud Seeding??? Really???

Have you ever heard of cloud seeding?

Up until a few days ago neither had I. DR directed me to a really good article here about cloud seeding in Kansas. When DR was first telling me what cloud seeding was I seriously thought he was joking!

Cloud seeding is an attempt to change weather conditions by shooting storm clouds full of silver iodide. Here's how it works (theoretically): Rain starts as tiny droplets of water suspended in clouds. Then the droplets clump together into bigger drops (or freeze together into bigger crystals). Once the drops or crystals are big and heavy enough, they fall out of the sky. The frozen drops can melt on the way down, becoming rain, or they can fall to the ground as snow. Cloud seeding aims to jump-start this process by helping droplets to clump or freeze together when they otherwise wouldn't. In some places cloud seeding is used to create moisture but it is used here in Kansas to break up the hail that is so common. Theoretically the silver iodide breaks up the hail to fall as rain. Of course with hail, that is so common in Kansas, comes hail damage and insurance companies are willing to pay for cloud seeding programs.

Cloud seeding is very controversial. Many people believe that instead of creating rain it prevents it from occurring and it could be harmful to the environment. DR knows a couple of farmers in the area who are both weather watchers and they both claim that cloud seeding doesn't work. There is a company to the west, by a couple counties, who performs cloud seeding and these weather watchers claim that these cloud seeding practices are taking away much needed moisture. Numerous times they've seen storms forming to the west only to be cloud seeded and the storm (and moisture) 'skips over' a 75 mile stretch of farm land here...all in order to prevent hail that 'might' be coming. I'm inclined to agree with the farmer that says, “I can raise crops with hail, But I can’t raise crops with no moisture.”

Now I'm all for supporting farmers and agriculture but sometimes I think humans are taking it too far. We are trying too hard to control things that we were never meant to have a hand weather. Southwest Kansas is a dry climate but for years farmers have been raising water dependent crops, like corn, and having to heavily irrigate their fields which is creating a water shortage in the aquifers. Now we are shooting chemicals up in the air? That can't be a good idea for anyone, especially when the science behind seed clouding is scanty and the evidence in favor of the practice is hard to find.

I've noticed that Nature pretty much knows what it's doing. And it was doing a fine job until mankind had so much technology at their fingertips. If we leave Nature alone and learn the way it works, and learn to work with it, I have a feeling we'd be better off.


  1. That's pretty crazy. I'm with you. I understand the reasoning,b ut somethings we just should not be messing with. I thought we had a pretty good storm headed for us last night, but it kind of fell apart, and we only had a .1 inch or so. When we went to bed there was lightening everywhere, the radar looked loaded for bear. See? It just goes to show that there is a bigger plan that we should not be messing with!

    Have a great weekend!


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