On July 1, 2021, the Communist Party of China turned 100 years old, and as part of the celebration, the government was preparing a huge ceremony in Tiananmen. What most of the world did not know is that, as part of that “preparation”, the authorities of the Asian giant launched an ambitious plan of “seeding clouds” the hours prior to guarantee clear skies with low pollution.
Those at least are the conclusions of a team of researchers from Tsinghua University who, according to the South China Morning Post, seems to have found “definitive signs” that China put all the meat on the grill those days. These technologies have been very controversial because it was not clear that they worked. It is possible that we are facing a substantive change in our relationship with the weather.
A shaman with billions of dollars
As the first of July approached, always according to the work of Professor Wang Can, air pollution increased and that, in the middle of one of the coldest and wettest summers in recent history, could end up ruining the commemorative ceremonies. So, although the factories in the region had stopped in the previous days, a “cloud seeding” operation was started the day before the event.
By collecting testimonies from the inhabitants of the mountainous regions that surround the region and analyzing the composition of the air, the researchers have concluded that rockets loaded with silver iodide were launched on June 30 to stimulate rain.
This would have reduced air pollutants by more than two-thirds and would have significantly improved air quality. In the opinion of the research team, in fact, this intervention was the only event that allows to explain the sudden improvement in air quality indicators. If confirmed, it would probably be the first large-scale weather modification that we have evidence of.
And the truth is that it cannot be said that it is a surprise. The Chinese Government carries billions of dollars spent on technologies of this type And if for years there has been talk of his efforts to guarantee a good climate in agricultural regions or to facilitate the development of the 2008 Olympics, it has been a long time since he has officially said that he aspires to control when and how it rains in more than half from the country.
Much remains to be clarified, but we may be facing a historic moment. Or not. The idea of turning the earth into a huge greenhouse has enormous potential, but also a cluster of potential problems that we can only guess.
Image | Li Yang