Weather modification for the Beijing Olympics

Meteorologists in China say that that if necessary they will modify the weather on August 8 so it doesn't rain on the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies. From the Los Angeles Times:
Training with the Olympics in mind, the meteorologists have been practicing their "rain mitigation" techniques since 2006. They have had a couple of dry runs, so to speak -- a China-Africa summit and a panda festival in Sichuan province, among others.

The bureau of weather modification was established in the 1980s and is now believed to be the largest in the world. It has a reserve army of 37,000 people -- most of them sort of weekend warriors who are called to duty during unusual droughts. The bureau has 30 aircraft, 4,000 rocket launchers and 7,000 antiaircraft guns, said Wang Guohe, director of weather modification for the Chinese Academy of Meteorology.

"We have the largest program in the world with the most people involved and the most equipment, but it is not really the most advanced," Wang said. That honor belongs to the Russians, who he says used sophisticated cloud-seeding in 1986 to prevent radioactive rain from the Chernobyl reactor accident from reaching Moscow.
Link (Thanks, Sean Ness!)


  1. If that fails, they can always shield the stadium with an colorful lattice comprised entirely of dissidents.

  2. …4,000 rocket launchers and 7,000 antiaircraft guns…

    Why do you need rocket launchers and antiaircraft guns to attack clouds? I kinda figured you’d want to drop bomb-like devices which dispersed high in the atmosphere; neither rocket launchers nor AA seem to have the range or ability to disperse at the right time. Maybe there’s more going on here than we’re being told…

  3. They already have a weather modification program, it’s called “global warming” (not the biggest in the world yet, the US still holds that honor.)

  4. I am astounded at the overarching certitude the Chinese seem to have. They are masters of control and planning, no doubt. Look at Shanghai (see recent posts here), banning non-state approved reincarnation, and now the weather. Ah!, the certainty of History, leftover from Marxism. I enjoyed the comment that the Russian’s used weather control to avoid Chernobyl fallout.

    Is this the weather control the CIA was so paranoid about during the Cold War?

    Hubris has Nemesis

  5. If they can modify the weather, why are there five trillion people stranded on trains for the last week due to snowstorms?

  6. I used to live near the Fort Lauderdale airport. about a week before the “world renowned big corporate sponsored” airshow there were a series of low slow flying planes in the two mile swath from the beach to the everglades at 3 a.m.every day. the weather for the airshow was always unnaturally hot and cloudless, and it always poured for a week after. no one believes me when i tell them that the army corp of engineers developed seeding technology for weather control in the twenties in florida. and everyone calls conspiracy when i suggest that maybe due to standard hurricane patterns and behaviour Katrina should not have been the storm that it was or gone as far as it did.

  7. This is meant to be a tungue in cheek, but is still all entirely true.

    I was an aerospace engineering major at the University of Michigan from 1992 till 1997. The computer lab in the aerospace building was almost always full, as well as were the labs in almost all the other engineering buildings. The atmospheric and oceanic sciences building was across the street from the aero building, and a little out of the way from other buildings. And deep within its heart was a small and mostly unused lab. I don’t remember who found it, but the half dozen of us aeros that knew it existed didn’t tell anyone. So we were practically gauranteed a computer whenever we needed one. We just had to snake our way through the bizarrely small and winding corridors of the atmo building.

    The only other people that ever seemed to be there were a small cadre of asian atmo students. As a matter of fact, the only people I ever saw in the building were asians. And I never really spoke to any of them. They kept to themselves, spoke their own languages, and didn’t seem to mind the small handful of spectacled pasty aero nerds that ocassionaly used their lab. In my five (yes, five) years as an aero student I don’t recall ever meeing anyone from the atmo program anywhere else.

    I often thought about the fact that the atmo building was located out of the way, its internal architecture was weird/confusing and all of the residents appeared to be reclusive asians. This led me (and others) to theorize that asians are trying to learn how to control the weather. Rememer, this was over 10 years ago.


  8. I’m no expert on China; I took class on it in college and was taught by someone who had lived there. His opinion was that, from his perpective–as an Indian-American–the Chinese had a cultural history of being ordered into forced labor-projects, such as the Great Wall. And that their culture is far more unified in some ways that most Americans don’t relate well to. Weather control seems like a logical project for them. It’s so SF. I have no idea if science fiction is popular in China. Would Heinlein be allowed? Is any of his stuff free yet?

  9. Last year, in the week leading up to the “1 year before the Olympics” mark, there was incredibly bizarre weather in Beijing. Short thunder storms with strong lightning, heavy rains and a whole host of other phenomenon. Then on August 8, 1 year to the day before the opening ceremony it was blue skies and sunshine that lasted for several days. Whether it was just a coincidence I don’t know, but it sure got a lot of people talking and wondering.

    As for the poster wanting to know about why there are people stranded due to snowstorms, those snowstorms are happening in the south of China where it almost never snows and at this time of year you can normally get away with wearing a t-shirt! Now they are knee deep in snow. If you mess around with the weather in one place it’s not too great a leap to realise that its going to manifest in other places (butterflies flapping their wings and all that).

  10. I dunno about you, but I reckon working for The Bureau Of Weather Control sounds hella sweet. Why hasn’t Good Old Blighty got one of these? God knows, we fucking need it…

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