Guardian: China’s ‘weather modification’ works like magic *

Guardian
01.10.2009
By Jonathan Watts

The Chinese air force claimed today that the biggest weather modification operation in the country’s history cleared the skies over Tiananmen Square just in time for the National Day parade.

I write this post under gorgeously azure skies. Instead of the dull haze I have grown used to in Beijing over the past few years, the light is so sharp that it almost hurts my eyes.

The transformation is so dramatic it is eerie. When I flew into Beijing yesterday, the city was shrouded in what looked like a thick smog.

Weather forecasters said it would rain around midnight and, hey presto, the first drops of rain started to fall almost on the dot.

Even so, when I left the house at 4am this morning, it was still so gloomy that my taxi driver slowed the car because visibility was poor. “Wuran” (pollution), he explained.

But was it? By 5.30am, when I arrived at the media centre for the National Day parade, the skies had cleared sufficiently to be able to see a star. But there were still thick clusters of cloud and some mist. It might rain again, I thought.

We were bussed to the press gallery outside the Forbidden City by about 7.20am. A band of cumulus lingered over the Great Hall of the People. They had darkened when I called a friend an hour later.

Just before I rang off, I described the skies to him. “It might still rain on the parade, but I think the odds are now on their [the organisers’] side,” I said.

Once the march started, I concentrated on that, but I recall being impressed by the unusual vividness of the sky on some of the images on the giant screens.

Other colleagues told me they found it remarkable that the clouds seemed almost to be held back from the square, even though there were still some around the edges.

By the time of the fly-past around 11am, the skies were clear until air force jets left behind lines of coloured smoke-trails. Now, six hours later, Beijing is still enjoying perfect conditions.

What happened? According to Chinese Meterology News, there were four attacks on a bank of clouds that approached Tiananmen from the south-west between 7.30am and 9.05am. In total 432 rockets were fired to achieve the desired result.

Xinhua news agency reports that the authorities also had the capacity to delay rainfall.

Full article

Related:

BBC reports on Global Dimming - What is it? And what could be causing it? *

Telegraph: New type of cloud found - exactly what is causing them?

Cloud ship scheme to deflect the sun’s rays is favourite to cut global warming

BBC - Population In The East Of England Was Sprayed With Poisonous Compound *

Governor Schwarzenegger Backs Aerial Biochemical Spraying That Harms Children*

AP / Google News: Obama looks at spraying skies with particles because ‘global warming is so dire’

The government say they don’t exist, but Democrat Kucinich wants Congress to take action *

End of Nations - EU Takeover and the Lisbon Treaty