Aftonbladet (Sweden): chemical precipitation — a new weapon against forest fires in Siberia

Just imagine if we could decide when and where to go the rain! In Russia believe that this is possible.

Fighting raging in Siberia forest fires, the country remembered the old method, which once argued a lot. She began to bring rain using chemical compounds.

In Siberia now burning 46 thousand hectares. This year alone the planet has lost more than 4.5 million hectares of Siberian forest.

To put out huge fires, the Russian Ministry of emergency situations again started to use chemical reagents, which are formed rain clouds. Method of influence on the clouds with the help of chemical compounds was developed after the Second world war. There is information that the Soviet Union has used artificial rain in order to protect Moscow from radioactive fallout after the Chernobyl disaster.

Swedish method called “cloud seeding”. It is believed that so you can control where it will rain and in what quantity. To do this in the cloud inject chemicals, usually silver iodide. The silver iodide accelerates the formation of water droplets in the cloud. In addition, he drops occurs more than usual. So shortly after treatment with reagent a cloud fall as rain, the most common view.

As reported, since the Russian fire service began to use this method, the area of fires has decreased on third in comparison with last week. Information about the reduction in fires where with reagents were caused by rain, confirmed by Greenpeace.

Scientific evidence no

But is it really possible to artificially induce rain? Scientists continue to argue about it. Meteorologist Swedish Institute of hydrology and meteorology Sofia Soderberg (Sofia Söderberg) skeptical.

“There is no reliable scientific methods, to produce rain or to stop it,” she says.

Meteorologist “Swedish television”, Josefin of Bergstedt (Josefine Bergstedt) agree with her. “Some scientists believe that it works, others Express skepticism. The problem is that it is difficult to prove that it rained after application of the reagent, but not by myself.”

A common thing in China

The method is used not only in order to bring rain when it is needed, but in order to prevent natural precipitation, when they are undesirable. For this he repeatedly resorted in Indonesia and China.

For example, in 2008, before the opening of the Olympic games in Beijing, the country decided to make sure the ceremony is not marred by bad weather. Cloud fired thousands of rounds with a reagent to rain early.

Indeed, the Olympic games began under the net and the clear sky. But can it be considered a merit of the reagents, it is difficult to say for sure.

“Sometimes the method used at airports to get rid of the fog before departure, making it rain,” says Bergstedt.

Expensive and doubtful

But if the rain can move in time and space, why is this method not used more often?

“I think first and foremost it is a question of money. It is very expensive, and many countries lack the resources and technology to do so. In addition, as already mentioned, there is no consensus about how effective it is,” answers Josefin of Bergstedt.

“Chemical rain” — it sounds scary. But, according to Bergstedt, we are talking about such a small number of reagents, that it does not affect the nature.

However, critics are convinced that to influence the weather, in principle, unsafe. Intervention in atmospheric processes can cause extreme weather events, some experts say.