China Is Gearing Up For A Massive Artificial Rain Experiment On The Tibetan Plateau

The project known as Sky River will attempt to create artificial rain over an astonishing range of 620,000 square miles.

China's Sky River project will bring artificial rain to Tibet.
Wang He / Getty Images

The project known as Sky River will attempt to create artificial rain over an astonishing range of 620,000 square miles.

China has a very special project known as Sky River which will see artificial rain falling upon the Tibetan Plateau over a range of 620,000 square miles, and it is hoped that this scientific experiment, the largest of its kind ever conducted, will help to increase rainfall yearly by 10 billion cubic meters.

Tsinghua University is responsible for the development of the Sky River project which was created in 2016, and in their attempt to create much-needed artificial rain, China will be using fuel-burning chambers placed strategically across the sprawling mountains of Tibet that will number in the tens of thousands, as ScienceAlert report.

The sheer volume of artificial rain that China is trying to produce will be falling over an area that is larger even than the state of Alaska, and achieving success with Sky River is crucial if the country is to resolve their issues with water shortage, according to Lei Fanpei.

“Modifying the weather in Tibet is a critical innovation to solve China’s water shortage problem. It will make an important contribution not only to China’s development and world prosperity, but also the well being of the entire human race.”

The concept of creating artificial rain, or cloud seeding, is a task that scientists have been working on for many years now, but with such a severe water shortage, scientists in China are working harder than any other country to get large amounts of rain falling again.

Inside the vast chambers in Tibet will be silver iodide particles that will be swept away by the wind and up into the Earth’s atmosphere so that clouds will form, with both snow and rain hopefully falling.

One scientist who is working on Sky River has said that the artificial rain project appears to be going quite well so far.

“So far, more than 500 burners have been deployed on alpine slopes in Tibet, Xinjiang, and other areas for experimental use. The data we have collected show very promising results.”

However, not everyone is of the belief that China will necessarily be able to create the amount of artificial rain that they really need, or that rain will fall precisely where they expect it to, as scientist Janos Pasztor notes.

“Such weather modification does not ‘produce’ rain as such. Rather, it makes rain happen somewhere, which means that it will not happen somewhere else. This immediately means that ecosystems and people living somewhere else where it would have rained will no longer get this rain.”

With China in such need of rain, scientists everywhere are watching and waiting to see whether the country can indeed pull off their Sky River project and create the artificial rain that they so desperately require.