To Battle Drought, China Pumps $1 Million Into Artificial Rain

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A farmer works in central China's drought-stricken Anhui province on Feb. 9, 2011. (Zhang Yanlin/Color China Photo/AP Images)

China is a nation of superlatives, and its role in weather manipulation is no exception. (via Ecocentric)

Beijing runs the world’s largest program in cloud seeding – the process of imbuing clouds with silver iodide to generate precipitation, usually in times of drought. This week, the world’s biggest rainmaking operation just got bigger.

China rolled out its cloud seeding technology to clear the skies of dust and pollution before the Beijing Olympics. Last week, the rocket launchers and aircraft were mobilized again – this time to battle a drought in the nation’s wheat belt — and yesterday, China’s meteorological agency announced that it had received over $1 million from the Ministry of Finance to improve its anti-drought work. Beijing hopes the move will help deliver a normal wheat harvest this summer and stem fears that China could push up global wheat prices even further.

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