Is Weather Alteration Technology Just A Dream?

Or is it something that already exists, giving us the power to control the weather patterns, stop rain, or even “summon” it to fall over areas stricken with drought? Before we take you into these waters, waters that are still unknown to most people, a disclaimer. We won’t talk about HAARP, climate control, or alleged “weather control weapons”; the goal of this article is to show our readers weather alteration technology that actually exist, that isn’t just a part of many conspiracy theories. We’ll take you from the beginnings, when there weren’t many rules guiding the nature of experiments, to today’s world where weather altering technology is used to keep the rain away, whether for making your wedding perfect, or to ensure that Olympic games opening ceremony won’t be affected by dark clouds that could ruin it. Stay with us and find just how advanced weather alteration technology really is.

Reasons for using it

Imagine drought lasting for months and months with no signs of stopping. Crops are endangered, meaning that food could become scarce; farmers can do almost nothing, ending up using expensive irrigation systems that will just take more money out of their pockets, lowering their already humble profit. Another scenario would be the imminent arrival of a destructive hurricane capable of destroying whole settlements, with people being helpless of stopping it, helpless in their attempts of saving their homes, their life. Because of these and many more potential scenarios, weather altering was always a dream, a technology that could stop the rain, end the drought and make hurricanes and tornadoes nothing more than a part of tales of yesterday.

Weather Alteration - Cloud Seeding

How Whether Alterations Began

Rainmakers were present in most societies of the past, called when drought would strike, in efforts to save crops and with them, the whole community. U.S Congress actually granted around $ 19,000 way back in 1891 (that amount of money is equivalent of around $ 500,000 today) for the purpose of conducting tests that would answer the question whether rainmaking is effective. Of course, tests failed, ending the era of rainmaking. Up until late 40’s, there was no serious research regarding weather alteration. In 1946 two researchers, Vincent Schaefer and Bernard Vonnegut (if that name is familiar, it is because Bernard was, in fact, Kurt Vonnegut’s brother, he probably got the inspiration for his famous novel, Cat’s Cradle from his brother’s weather altering research) worked on a process that could create snow in the clouds by filling it with ice crystals. First tests were conducted by Schaefer and Irving Langmuir, but after they found success in the process dubbed glaciogenic cloud seeding, Vonnegut decided to help them.

Schaefer and Vonnegut developed silver iodide, a compound able to induce growth of water droplets, making them heavy enough to fall from clouds. First tests were successful, but they were conducted indoors. In order to replicate the results, many scientists tried to conduct their experiments in real-life conditions, by flying planes through clouds and seeding them with silver iodide, and almost all results suggested that cloud seeding has only a marginal effect, or not have an effect at all.

Developing New Types Of Weather Alteration

Hygroscopic seeding was developed with the help of experiments that took place in Mexico and South Africa. Although results weren’t conclusive, scientists claim that this form of cloud seeding is more effective than glaciogenic seeding, and can be used for weather alteration. The difference being that hygroscopic seeding uses salt particles to seed warm rain clouds, instead of seeding cold rain clouds with silver iodide.

On the other side, China showed that a classic way of cloud seeding (silver iodide and dry ice) could actually be efficient. They successfully banished rain clouds from 2008 Olympics opening ceremony. Although exact technology wasn’t completely revealed, the official statement is that air crafts and rocket launch sites were used for clouds that were far away from stadium so that water particles could be banished before cloud enters the area of Beijing, while they used coolant chemicals made from liquid nitrogen in order to shrink raindrops in the clouds that already entered Beijing area. Even if cloud seeding is proven to be pretty ineffective, the Chinese were successful, and not a single rain drop fell over Beijing, while the nearby city of Baoding received 100mm of rainfall during the same night.


weather alteration- China cloud seeding

One of Rocket Batteries Used For Getting Rid Of the Clouds during 2008 Olympic Games

Project Stormfury and Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory (a scientific theory, not the name of a Splinter Cell game) is a very complex set of scientific paradigms and principles used for describing extremely complex systems, one of them being weather systems. Part of the theory tells us that provoking small changes in those systems can have large, visible consequences.

Project Stormfury tried to find ways of stopping destructive hurricanes with just a few changes to a complex system that delivers them. Things like lowering the sea temperature, just under the value above which hurricanes can start developing, or with dropping large amounts of biodegradable oil on the surface of the ocean, in order to prevent the formation of water droplets. Another way of fighting storms was dropping a polymer that should absorb large quantities of water; although in one test AeroGroup, a firm with a government contract, succeed to stop the formation of a thunderstorm near the coast of Florida, research was shut down. Until now, we still don’t have technology that could successfully stop hurricanes and tornadoes.

Weather Alteration _Project Stormfury

One Of The Planes Used In Project Stormfury

Laser Cloud Seeding

The first laser-based weather alteration system was tested during 2004. Wolf Casparian and his team tried to hit clouds with powerful lasers in order to dissolve lighting. They failed but in 2012, an experiment that dealt with exactly the same problem proved successful, but only in a controlled environment. Physicist Jean-Pierre Wolf is trying to develop lasers capable of starting condensation, and eventually creating new clouds. He and his team already gained positive results, but big tests aren’t ready yet, and we have to wait some time before they can replicate their experiments in a natural environment, and not just in the laboratory.


While we can’t (at the moment) fully and confidently control the weather, creating full-proof weather alteration systems is still one of the humanity’s dreams. Creating rain in drought affected areas, stopping severe rain in areas prone to flooding, getting rid of desserts, are just a few examples showing how powerful weather alteration technology can be. But, until we develop a real, accurate and effective weather controlling system, at least there are ways of getting rid of rain (although, only on short term basis), and there are companies that offer services of cloud seeding, promising you perfect weather for your wedding, birthday, or any other important date. While they aren’t as successful as they should be in theory, at least there is some progress made in this extremely complicated, and extremely promising science branch.  

Goran has a B.A in psychology, but never really went that road. He likes everything about video games, technology, Sci-Fi and science. Freelancing for almost a year, he tries to bring his readers something interesting and engaging every time.

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