- On Wednesday, Delhi State Environment Minister Gopal Rai announced that the capital city will consider cloud seeding — an attempt to artificially induce rainfall — to reduce its toxic air pollution.1
- Cloud seeding occurs when silver iodide or potassium iodide is spread to the cloud system over a location using aircraft; the substance forms nuclei where water droplets form before becoming raindrops and falling to the surface. To be successful, a moisture-saturated cloud deck must be present and can produce rainfall in as little as 30 minutes.2
- After meeting with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, Mr. Rai said, 'We have asked them to send us the proposal on artificial rain by tomorrow [Thursday] so that it can be produced before the Supreme Court for necessary permissions.'3
- Once approval has been given, the Delhi government will move quickly to implement the solution. Mr. Rai said that if the weather conditions permit the government could move forward with the cloud seeding as early as Nov. 20-21.2
- Vehicle emissions and wildland and farmland fires in Punjab and Haryana have increased pollutants in the region while winds and temperatures remain low, creating smoggy and unhealthy conditions in Delhi.4
- If approved, India will join China, Indonesia, and Malaysia using cloud seeding to reduce toxic air pollution levels.5
- Narrative A, as provided by The Environmental Magazine. While cloud seeding may solve the toxic air problem temporarily, there are long-term impacts to think about. The use of chemicals needed to produce rain has the potential to contaminate food and water sources, which could sicken humans and animals. Additionally, while creating rain in one area, there is the potential to create droughts in others. This human-induced weather technique should undergo serious scrutiny before being used.
- Narrative B, as provided by DRI. Cloud seeding has a growing body of evidence for producing beneficial results. From triggering beneficial rains to bolstering healthy snowpack, the benefits outweigh the costs in many parts of the world. As technology advances, monitoring processes will also improve with benefits for locations like Delhi and beyond.