Cloud seeding or cloud seeding: This is the name given to a process in which clouds are artificially made to rain. While some countries are already using the method, experts are divided on whether it really works.

“Voculating clouds”: What initially sounds like science fiction has long been taking place in reality. At least China and Russia have already fired rockets into the clouds to manipulate them and force them to fall.

According to media reports, this form of geoengineering is believed to explain why it did not rain at the opening of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing despite warnings of severe storms.

Russia is also already using so-called cloud seeding in order to be able to celebrate the anniversary of the victory over Hitler's Germany on May 9th without rain. However, experts disagree as to whether cloud seeding really works.

Seeding clouds: What is cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding describes the introduction of artificial condensation nuclei into clouds by aircraft and rockets in order to force them to rain. The use of silver iodide is particularly efficient. But dry ice and liquid nitrogen are also said to be suitable for this.

Silver iodide can release water-attracting salts that combine with the tiny water droplets in a cloud. This will cause them to grow larger, form more weight and eventually sink in the form of rain.

Clouds are being vaccinated not only in Russia and China, but also in Germany. In this country, especially in the south, mostly in the wine-growing regions in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. The vaccinations there are intended to help primarily against hail and heavy rain. The goal: The clouds should rain down before large hailstones develop.

Does cloud seeding work?

Overall, environmental and weather experts disagree as to whether clouds really fall as a result of rocket vaccination. The ARD weather expert Michael Köckeritz underlines the effectiveness of the method in an interview: “If it’s done well, it can work.”

Joachim Curtis, professor of experimental atmospheric research at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, confirms that the possibility of forcing clouds to rain down really does exist. However, he emphasizes that it is difficult to vaccinate the right amount in the right place at the right time.

Meanwhile, skepticism comes from the University of Leipzig: Professor Manfred Wendisch, head of the Atmospheric Radiation Working Group, doubts the effectiveness of cloud vaccination. In his opinion, there are no reliable statistical studies that prove its effectiveness in practice.

In addition, there is so much energy in a cloud that there have to be more than a few rockets or planes to influence its behavior. In a hypothetical calculation he speaks of the power of 14 atomic bombs.

Vaccinating clouds: UN campaigns against weather manipulation

If a publication by the late meteorologist Arnett S. Dennis is to be believed, cloud seeding has been around since the 1940s. At that time there were already attempts to manipulate the weather for war purposes.

The UN therefore founded the Environmental Modification Convention (ENMOD), which prohibits warfare through environmental changes and has been in force since 1978. Numerous countries such as the USA, Germany, Russia, India and Pakistan have signed it.

The trigger for the agreement was, among other things, that the USA tried to starve the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. To do this, they wanted to increase the rain in the region around Ho Chi Minh. However, data later showed that the attempt was unsuccessful. It is not yet clear whether people are fundamentally able to force clouds to rain through vaccinations.

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