- The Facts: China has publicly revealed plans to drastically expand an experimental weather modification program to cover an area of over 5.5 million square kilometres (2.1 million square miles) — more than 1.5 times the total size of India.
- Reflect On: How long have weather modification programs been in operation? What are and have been the consequences of such activity?
What Happened: China announced that it’s planning a rapid expansion to its weather modification program. Most people probably didn’t know that China even had a weather modification program. The changes include modifying the climate in an area that is more than one and a half times the size of India, covering an area of over 5.5 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles). In fact, China has been modifying their weather for decades and they’ve used the technology at local levels as well. They were quite open about modifying the weather for clear skies ahead of and during the 2008 Olympics.
The proposed enlargement is on a scale that could affect regional weather patterns. The cabinet said it wanted to extend the artificial rain and snow programme to cover at least 2.1m sq miles (5.5m sq km) of land by 2025. The long-term plan envisages that by 2035, the country’s weather modification capabilities would reach an “advanced” level and focus on revitalising rural regions, restoring ecosystems and minimising losses from natural disasters.”
It’s not just China that has engaged in such activity, it was used by the US during the Vietnam war (Operation Popeye). General Electric started to conduct their first weather modification experiments in 1946. In 2012, Iran accused Israel and the United States of modifying their climate for warfare purposes, and did so again in 2018. According to then president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez prior to his death, “The US Navy launched a weapon capable of inducing a powerful earthquake on Haiti. This time it was only a drill, and the final part of it is destroying and taking over Iran.
How long has this been going on for? A United States government document printed at the request of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in November 1978 states,
“Weather modification is generally considered to be the deliberate effort to improve atmospheric conditions for beneficial human purposes. Not all weather modification activities, however, have been designed to benefit everyone, and have been used for purposes of war….In addition to specific research programs sponsored by Federal agencies, there are other functions related to weather modification which are performed in several places in the executive branch. Various federal advisory panels and committees and their staffs -established to conduct in-depth studies and prepare reports, to provide advice or recommendations, or to coordinate weather modification programs – have been housed and supported within executive departments, agencies, or offices”.