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Plane Rain
updated: Nov 09, 2012, 12:58 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I have a question about rain. I remember when airplanes would do something with the clouds to cause it to rain. Can we still do this?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 341047 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:09 PM

Yep. Try a quick google. They rained out the Ho Chi Min trail during Vietnam so who knows what they can do now.


 COMMENT 341048 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:10 PM

Yes. In fact the county has an active "cloud-seeding" program for use in certain circumstances.


 COMMENT 341050 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:12 PM

If we can do this then YES we need to do this. I will never believe a word our KEYT boys forecast about the weather. They are wrong 99% of the time and it really bothers me.


 COMMENT 341061 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:40 PM

CANNOT make rain out of nothing.


 COMMENT 341065 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:43 PM

@050 I absolutely agree with you on this! Finally someone else see's what I see!


 COMMENT 341072P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:56 PM

They tried seeding the clouds here before, it didn't work. There was rain this morning in Santa Ynez but it is hard to predict exactly where the clouds will go, they could have come here too but didn't. It's sad but ultimately it IS nature, not the weatherman, who decides if it is going to rain here or not. We all want some rain I'm sure, and we'll get some, but guess not today.


 COMMENT 341073 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 01:57 PM

No we can't do this any longer since the laws of science were changed.


 STRAY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 02:03 PM

Rather than the laws of science, the laws involving litigation exist.

Can you imagine who will get sued if the government causes rain to fall, and a car accident happens or a flood occurs damaging property and/or causing personal injury?

I'm all for rain seeding, but tort reform is necessary first, yes?


 COMMENT 341077 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 02:11 PM

061 - Correct. Cloud-seeding attempts to increase the yield of EXISTING rain clouds when conditions are favorable.


 COMMENT 341078 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 02:13 PM

Stray, luckily suing the government is different than suing a private individual. There are many exceptions for suing a government agency under tort law. I have a feeling (without researching this first) that there is probably some exception for cloud seeding in certain circumstances.


 COMMENT 341080 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 02:16 PM

Interesting story about a Russian plane that tried to seed clouds in 2008. A whole bag of cement fell on a home.

But this was to remove moisture not cause it.



 COMMENT 341096 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 03:09 PM

I saw a Gumby episode where they did this and it rained mud.


 COMMENT 341151 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 07:33 PM

Cloud-seeding is almost as effective as making gold out of lead.


 COMMENT 341162 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 08:05 PM

Google on "cloud seeding" and read the wikipedia citation.


 COMMENT 341172P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 08:34 PM

Yes, it's still going on. http://www.newtimesslo.com/news/6811/weather-or-not/


 COMMENT 341177 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-09 09:05 PM

As usual, a lot of spouting without knowledge. You do not have to have clouds. You have to have the right thermal/humidity profile in the atmosphere. The "seeding" is the spraying of minute particulates (silver based) into the atmosphere so that water vapor can condense onto the particulates and form droplets heavy enough to form clouds. The effects are very unpredictable. But there are places in the world where this technology is utilized on a very regular basis.


 COMMENT 341208 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 06:11 AM

Mmmm delicious silver based rain


 COMMENT 341214 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 06:44 AM

Surprised there are no vapor trail conspiracy theorists weighing in here.

Yes Virginia, there is a rainman. Might even still be in the south coast water agencies budget. Silver iodide is the agent, an earlier poster got it right about creating a nucleus for condensation/raindrop formation.

If you want more rain, move to Oregon Washington or BC; less rain, try California valley, average 3"/ year. Just right, just ask goldilocks!


 COMMENT 341215 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 06:49 AM

I flew Cloud Seeding missions here in Santa Barbara. The plane dispenses Silver Bromide Crystals which help water droplets coalesce and this causes the moisture to fall. We used to have a radar site up at Reagans Ranch and when a suitable wet cell (CB) would move over SB, I would be dispatched. It was usually in the middle of the night. A mann working the ground radar would direct me into these cells that would show up on the radar in the plane as well. After a pass I would have to turn around and re-seed the same cell and I can tell from personal experience, the cells were in fact much wetter on the second and third pass. It really works.


 COMMENT 341223 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 07:30 AM

I can't remember if this really happened or I'm confusing it with something else, but I seem to recall a local incident a while back in which cloud-seeding went wrong and torrential rain resulted, causing flooding and other damage during a particular storm. For some reason, people either weren't immediately made aware of this, or didn't think it was that big a deal. Does anyone remember this? I think it might have been in the 1970s or '80s.


 COMMENT 341235 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 08:28 AM

North American Weather, based in Santa Barbara for many years did and still does cloud seeding.

Claim to be the earliest company that does cloud seeding.

Google: North American Weather Consultants

"NAWC was established in the Santa Barbara, California area in 1950 and maintained its headquarters there until 1980, when the corporate offices were relocated to Salt Lake City, Utah. Our offices are currently located in Sandy, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City."


 RICHYRICH agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 09:18 AM

Cloud condensation nuclei. Sounds so cool. Silver Iodide is the player.


 COMMENT 341261P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-10 09:28 AM

Potassium iodide, the resident scientist sez. I remember them salting the clouds so we'd get rain, when I was a kid in Riverside County in the 50's. I think I remember that they stopped doing it because it interfered with the natural rainfall patterns -- clouds dumped their water early in some areas so that other areas didn't get normal rainfall -- something about one side of mountain ranges getting seeded clouds and rain, but the clouds not carrying any rain up over the mountain ranges.


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