Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Beijing ready for Oct. 1 rain crackdown

AGAINST NATURE Nothing will be allowed to spoil China’s National Day parade — not even pesky rain-bearing clouds, which will be chemically dispersed by 18 aircraft

AFP , BEIJING

China will make its biggest-ever effort to control the weather and prevent rain washing out festivities marking the 60th anniversary of communist rule, state media said yesterday.

China’s air force will deploy 18 aircraft to spray cloud dispersal chemicals into the atmosphere around Beijing, while “48 fog dispersal vehicles” will use similar technology at airports around the capital, the Global Times reported.

“It is the first time in Chinese history that artificial weather modification on such [a] large scale has been attempted,” the paper quoted Cui Lianqing, an air force meteorologist, as saying. “There are still a lot of uncertainties with the weather, and sometimes people can’t work against nature ... but we are trying our best.”

China is planning a massive parade, song and dance performances and fireworks at Tiananmen Square on Oct. 1 to mark the day when Mao Zedong (毛澤東) proclaimed the founding of the state in 1949.

Clear weather is especially important for the military parade, which will include a flyover by the nation’s most advanced fighter jets, the report said.

The capital made similar efforts for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics when over 1,100 “rain dispersal rockets” were fired into the skies to break up clouds around the Bird’s Nest National Stadium.

In addition to air force efforts, the Beijing Weather Modification Office is also preparing to implement similar cloud dispersal measures ahead of Oct. 1, Xinhua news agency has reported.

Remote satellite technology will be employed to help monitor weather changes and adjust modification measures, the report said.

Weather records show that there is a 30 percent chance of rain on Oct. 1, but precipitation has been light on most recent National Days, it added.

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