Monday, November 2, 2009

Scientists bring snow to Beijing

Chinese meteorologists have brought about Beijing's earliest snowfall in a decade, after seeding rain clouds with silver iodide to ease a drought.

The Weather Modification Office had sprayed clouds with 186 doses of the chemical to bring rain for the wheat crop, the Beijing Evening News said.
But the arrival of a cold front caused heavy snow to fall, disrupting road, rail and air travel.

Cloud seeding is often used in China to bring on rain.
The country's north is prone to droughts, while the south is often flooded.
In Anhui province, which has been having a drought since September, there was 4cm (1.5in) of rainfall at the weekend.

Much of the country's farming still relies on rainfall as many of its communities have a poor irrigation system.

In February, the authorities created artificial snowfalls over Beijing in an attempt to alleviate the dry conditions. In addition to cloud seeding, the government is building a huge network of tunnels and waterways that will funnel water from the south to the north, but the project is still five years from completion.

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