Sun, Apr 04, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Air force’s efforts to induce rainfall in the south fail


A joint operation by the air force and a meteorological team on Friday to induce rainfall in the drought-plagued south failed to produce immediate results.

Information from the Central Weather Bureau’s monitoring stations in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung showed that zero precipitation had been recorded by 10pm on Friday. Chances of rain in the south stood at 10 percent yesterday as well.

At 11am on Friday, a squad of C-130 transport aircraft released about 4,000 liters of water from an altitude of 4,500m and targeted it at the water catchment areas of Tsengwen, Wushantou and Nanhua reservoirs in Tainan and Chiayi counties. At the same time, a team from National Taiwan University (NTU) tried to seed clouds to create rain over the same areas, but neither approach worked.

Commenting on the lack of results, the air force yesterday remained upbeat, saying the operation provided aerial and ground crews with much needed opportunities for practice.

Water Resources Agency Deputy Director-General Wu Yueh-si (吳約西) said yesterday it was quite difficult to induce rainfall at this time of year, but added that the agency still needs to try every time a cold front passes over the reservoirs in the hope of alleviating the drought.

Taiwan normally uses cold-cloud seeding, but on Friday the team opted for warm-cloud seeding, where an aerosol, in this case calcium-chloride based, is sprayed directly into clouds rather than above them.

NTU Department of Atmospheric Sciences associate professor Lin Po-hsiung (林博雄) said current weather conditions were suitable for making rain through warm-cloud seeding, which is used to generate rain in upper air cloud layers when their temperature is above 10˚C.

Cold-cloud seeding, Lin said, is best used when the temperature of those cloud layers is below 10˚C.

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