Weather geek from Machias, NY, working as a meteorologist for NHK World TV in Tokyo. Also run my own independent weather site.
By: Spetrm , 10:17 AM GMT on March 05, 2013
Indonesia has been practicing the act of cloud seeding for several years now, there goal to increase rainfall in drought stricken areas and fight forest fires across Sumatra and Borneo.
For those who are not sure of what cloud seeding is here is a quick explanation from Wikipedia.
“Cloud seeding, a form of intentional weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The usual intent is to increase precipitation (rain or snow), but hail and fog suppression are also widely practiced in airports.”
A key problem with cloud seeding is that one can not determine the true impact of the seeded clouds. Would have the heavy rains if the cloud was not seeded? Who knows! This is one of the main reasons the US killed the idea of cloud seeding years ago and has stopped it all together. Yet other countries still continue to try to control the weather in various ventures and experiments.
It is true that cloud seeding does have an effect on clouds and the physics and processes that go in to the makeup of it have all been proven. But the outcome of such effects varies due to the variables of the environment not being a constant.
The latest idea from Indonesia is to use these tactics of cloud seeding to reduce the amount of rainfall by causing more yet less severe storms to develop. (Once again this very well could back fire and cause worst weather, yet there would be no way to prove was it the cloud seeding or just a natural event)
If the Jakarta area government is worried about flooding then instead of relying on experiments in controlling the weather they should take the money and invest in to better draining, flood control and awareness for residents. Kuala Lumpur adopted massive flood control protocols this past decade and the severity of the floods have decreased dramatically.
I think another thing people tend to forget that live among south east Asia is that it’s a RAIN FOREST! Just because a big city showed up does not mean the climate of the rain forest went away. In other words there are still going to be rains and flooding. The key is to be able to cope with it within your infrastructure. Not spreading as I call it “magical fairy dust” in to the air.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.