Cloud seeding in Beijing, where silver iodide is fired with canons into the clouds to induce rain. (Photo from Howstuffworks.com)
As the fourth driest country in the world, Jordan is desperate for a water solution. This week, the Jordan Times anounced that Amman asked Thailand for help in cloud seeding to open the skies. It’s one of many Jordanian projects to get more water, such as the Red-Dead Canal and the Edama conservation campaign.
Thailand began experimenting with cloud seeding in 1969, led by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It launched seeding on a wide scale during severe droughts in 2005. The technique, according to the Independent, is to spray silver iodide into warm and cold clouds at different altitudes. This year, a Jordanian technical team will visit Thailand during the April and May dry season to see how it’s done.
Thailand is not the only country to try better rain through chemicals. China is the world’s largest cloud seeder, and used the technology to disperse the smog over Beijing prior to the 2008 Olympics.
However, the technology is not without its detractors. The Chinese rain operation drew controversy in 2004 when one province claimed cloud seeding “stole” rain from them and gave it to another. Environmental concerns include the effect of tiny particles of silver iodide falling from the sky onto cities and waterways, yet according to this interview with Australian radio station EarthBeat, the iodide particles are small and dispersed and get locked in the soil once they come down.