How to end a drought: Chinese style

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
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Trip End Dec 31, 2011


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Flag of China  ,
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Every so often I glance at the weather map for China, and of late, it's been mighty cold in the north. Beijing has been getting sub-zero temps.

But even though temps have been low, it hasn't snowed. Why?

Much of China has been in drought.

So what happened the other day? It snowed. And the met service said the drought was over. I find this strange. First, a day's snow doesn't end a drought. Second, snowfall contains very little real moisture. Third, much of the snowfall was artificial. Yes, that's right, the country that brought us the Olympics with those special effects, also used seeded clouds to get it to snow.
I should go on about this - I come from a town which used a wizard and his rain dance to try to end the drought.

"Zhang Qiang, deputy director of the Beijing Weather Modification Command Center, said the center had used artificial means since Tuesday to increase the snow in order to ease the drought. "More than 500 cigarette-size sticks of silver iodide were seeded into clouds from 28 weather rocket-launch bases in the city," Zhang said."It [relief from drought] is also as a result of a rainfall last week, which dampened the dry soil greatly," said Guo Wenli, head of the Climate Center with the Beijing Municipal Meteorological Bureau.The Chinese capital had not seen precipitation for 110 days before the rainfall on February 12. "The snowy weather has further brought moisture to the soil. The drought has almost ended," Guo said.
He said Beijing's first snow normally fell in mid-December. However, the capital had been enduring the longest drought in 38 years, according to the bureau's records. The city had not seen rain or snow since October 24.
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