In an effort to solve some of the country’s water shortage problems, China is building tens of thousands of chemical rainmakers. The goal: manufacture 10 billion tons of rainfall on the Tibetan Plateau.
The silver iodide furnaces developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (or CASC) will be placed on Himalayan mountains at altitudes above 16,400 feet. These “cloud seeders” encourage puffs of vapor coming from the Indian Ocean to produce rain, something they don’t do on their own given the geography of the northern part of the Tibetan Plateau and the Qaidam Basin. Those northern areas fall into a “rain shadow;” low-altitude clouds are blocked by the southern part of the Himalayas.