China vows to increase ‘weather modification’ capabilities to better control

China has pledged to strengthen its ability to modify the weather with artificial rain and snow to better control its agriculture, natural disasters and ecosystems.

The ambitious plan would cover more than 6 million square kilometers of land (2.3 million square miles) by 2025 with an extensive weather program, according to the country’s cabinet on Wednesday.

Beijing has said its weather-modifying capabilities will reach an “advanced” level by 2035, focusing on restoring ecosystems and minimizing agricultural losses from natural disasters.

China pledges to strengthen its ability to modify the weather with artificial rain and snow to better control its agriculture, natural disasters and ecosystems. FILE: Aerial view of a farmer drying straws in the field on October 29 in Ji’an, east China’s Jiangxi province

Earlier this year, China experienced what state media called a

Earlier this year, China experienced what state media called a “flood disaster” as torrential downpours battered the country. File photo taken on July 13 shows a swimmer wading through water in a local park due to heavy rain in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province.

China has frequently used cloud seeding technologies to relieve droughts or clear the air ahead of major international events.

He also built a weather modification system on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Asia’s largest freshwater reserve, with the aim of pumping large amounts of silver iodide into the clouds in order to increase in precipitation.

According to the cabinet’s new plan released by the State Council, China will continue artificial weather operations in key areas such as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, as well as key ecological protection areas of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.

An extensive artificial rain and snow program will be used on 5.55 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles) of land, according to the policy guidelines.

An extensive artificial rain and snow program will be used on 5.55 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles) of land, according to the policy guidelines.  A woman poses for photos in a park after it snowed in Jilin, northeast China's Jilin province, 20 November

An extensive artificial rain and snow program will be used on 5.55 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles) of land, according to the policy guidelines. A woman poses for photos in a park after it snowed in Jilin, northeast China’s Jilin province, 20 November

China's new weather modification plan aims to help restore the country's ecosystems by keeping water sources reserved and providing livable environments for wildlife

China’s new weather modification plan aims to help restore the country’s ecosystems by keeping water sources reserved and providing livable environments for wildlife

Anti-hail operations will also be carried out and protect areas covering at least 0.6 million square kilometers (0.2 million square miles) of land.

“By 2035, our country’s man-made climate-modifying capabilities, impacting business, technology and services, will reach the world’s advanced level,” the statement added.

The plan will focus on revitalizing rural areas by preventing drought and hail during the harvest season and minimizing losses from natural disasters to ensure a steady supply of agricultural products.

It also aims to help restore the country’s ecosystems by maintaining the reservation of water sources and providing livable environments for wildlife.

China will also strengthen its scientific capabilities and establish an experimental base and a laboratory to improve its ability to induce or prevent rain, clear fog and improve air quality, he added.

Summer floods have been an annual plague in China since ancient times, often concentrated along the vast Yangtze basin that drains much of the central part of the country.

Earlier this year, China saw what state media called a “flood disaster” as torrential rains battered the country as several Chinese provinces went into “war mode” to fight against floods.

Besides boosting its ability to control weather patterns, Beijing has pledged to tackle climate change by aiming to peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Calling for a “green revolution”, Chinese President Xi Jinping made bold promises during a speech to the UN General Assembly in September.

He added that the coronavirus pandemic had shown the urgency of preserving the environment.

But the goal will be a challenge for China, which relies heavily on coal, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels, for its electricity.