China Shoots Down Bad Weather

High-tech program controls climate, plays rainmaker.
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2007 5:30 PM CDT
Lights come on in buildings as central Beijing is cloaked in darkness during a rainstorm at 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Beijing 2008 Olympics organizers said Wednesday that they would have a better...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – China has a solution for its unpredictable weather: create its own. The county is toying with the world's largest weather modification program in terms of size, budget and equipment. The original idea was to ease droughts and improve harvests with man-made rain, but the program has evolved uses in fighting fires and even heat waves.

Farmers outside Bejing shoot chemical pellets filled with silver-iodide particles at clouds using anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers. The program's ultimate challenge is looming: Chinese officials say they're determined to ensure pleasant weather when the Olympics kick off in Beijing in August '08.