If we can control the weather, should we?
As many nations enter into a period of drought, and governments look for answers, a new, controversial option is starting to be discussed. That method involves changing the weather, an ethical issue which we must explore more. That method is called cloud seeding.
Cloud seeding is a type of weather medication which aims to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation, which alters the microphysical processes within the cloud.
Cloud seeding aims to increase precipitation and can also be used to reduce the chance of hail and fog. However, its effectiveness is still under debate by many academics due to contrasting results on several different experiments.
One report by the National Academy of Sciences suggested that “you can squeeze out a little more snow or rain in some places under some conditions, but that’s quite different from a program claiming to increase precipitation reliably.”
However, in 2016, the director of weather modification at the Desert Research Institute claimed that new technology and research had produced reliable results that make cloud seeding a dependable and affordable water supply practise for many regions.
Thus, more research and testing are required to form more reliable results so that the impact of cloud seeding can be understood thoroughly before any legislative or practical measures are introduced.
So what about Australia’s droughts? Could cloud seeding be the answer?
Scientifically, it seems to be unlikely. For cloud seeding to produce rain, there needs to be moisture within the clouds initially. Unfortunately, these specific clouds are not common in Australia, compared to the clouds in Dubai, which were utilised to bring about torrential rain.
Ethically, there are many things to consider. An increase in precipitation over an area might benefit some individuals in the area, but disadvantage others. Moreover, there is a spiritual debate regarding whether humans should be able to control natural events such as the weather.
I believe that more testing is required to prove the legitimacy of cloud seeding as a technique to produce rainfall. If it is effective in areas that need rain, it must be a leading consideration.
Would you support the introduction of cloud seeding?