WILLISTON, ND – Drought conditions throughout the summer have made it difficult for many, including those in charge of weather modification.
In North Dakota, Williams, Mountrail, McKenzie, Slope and Bowman counties conducted cloud seeding operations from June through August. With no precipitation, Atmospheric Resource Board officials said they only flew for about 253 hours, well below the 440 hours forecast.
“No one likes drought, obviously. We hate it and the people in our project don’t like it either because they’re looking for things to do and they also haven’t been out there to sit and twiddle their thumbs,” Darin said. Langerud, director of the Atmospheric Resources Council.
Langerud also pointed to a recent independent study conducted by Michigan State University that said North Dakota wheat yields in seeded counties were 13% higher than in unseeded counties over a 30-year period. He said it was a good thing to see.
“It was positive to see this study come out and the results of it confirm the information we received and the goals we have for this program,” Langerud said.
With another La Niña weather pattern expected, Langerud said he hopes to see more precipitation next year.
Despite the supposed benefits, the subject remains controversial to the public. Ward and Burke counties ended their participation in the program for the past two years.
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