Cloud seeding is a weather modification experiment to increase precipitation and induce rainfall from rain-bearing clouds.

Conduct cloud seeding every year expert panel advises Karnataka govtImage for representation/Pixabay
news Environment Friday, September 07, 2018 - 18:57

The Karnataka government has received a recommendation to conduct cloud seeding every year from an evaluation team comprising of a group of scientists. This evaluation team conducted the experiment of cloud seeding last year.

Cloud seeding is a weather modification experiment to increase precipitation and induce rainfall from rain-bearing clouds. Usually, a mixture of silver iodide, potassium iodide and dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) is sprayed into clouds from an aircraft flying over them. According to a report filed by the evaluation team, the cloud seeding exercise generated around 2.51 tmc of additional rainfall – which is roughly around 28% above the normal rainfall level.

According to officials at the Karnataka Agriculture Department, the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) and the Revenue Department will be overlooking the exercise. The Agriculture Department will submit the crop requirement and the status of the crops, after which a decision will be taken.

Speaking to TNM, GS Srinivasa Reddy, the Director of Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), stated that a recommendation has been submitted to the government but no official consultations have been held.

“We have received the recommendation, but the finances of it have to be discussed. It has to be announced in the Budget. So far, no official announcement or directive has been given,” Reddy said.

The evaluation team suggested that a permanent cloud seeding policy be drafted, and a body be constituted to carry out cloud seeding every year. According to the Deccan Herald, the evaluation team consisted of experts from the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune, National Aerospace Laboratories and the Indian Meteorology Department.

It is believed that the authorities are aiming to test the cloud seeding from early next year.  Last year, the Karnataka government had announced the Varshadhaare cloud seeding project, and carried out cloud seeding trial runs between August 21 and November 10 over three river basins – Cauvery, Malaprabha and Tungabhadra – after the state witnessed deficient rainfall.  

Several Indian states have experimented with cloud seeding including Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. However, the results have not been as satisfactory.  

The Karnataka government is expected to hold discussions and consultations to decide whether the exercise can benefit farmers in the state and whether better results can be attained.

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