China's State Council has announced that the country will have a "developed weather modification system" by 2025 that will cover a total area of more than 1.35 billion acres (5.5 million square kilometers) with artificial rainfall and one of about 143 million acres (580,000 square kilometers) with hail suppression.
"China will have a developed weather modification system by 2025, with breakthroughs in fundamental research and R&D in key technologies, steady improvements in modernization and refined services, distinct enhancement in comprehensive prevention against safety risks, and optimization in systems and policy environment," the council's statement said.
The statement added that China's weather modification should arrive at a worldwide advanced level in terms of operation, technologies, and services by 2035.
"Weather modification should intensify its service backup in the following key fields: estimation for disasters such as drought and hail, and related zoning work in agricultural production areas; normalized working plans for regions in need of ecological protection and restoration; and major emergency responses to deal with events such as forest or grassland fires, and unusually high temperatures or droughts," added the statement.
What the end result of these experimentations will be is yet to be examined. However, one thing is for sure: This is not the first time China toys with weather modification.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the country used cloud seeding to reduce rainfall during the open ceremony. The goal was to have the event take place in as pleasant weather as possible.
For the uninitiated, cloud seeding is a process that attempts to change the amount and type of precipitation that comes from clouds. It does this by dispersing substances into the air that serve as a condenser for clouds.
These substances, also known as ice nuclei, alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The end result is that raindrops or ice flakes fall from the clouds.