See More on Facebook

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

Cloud Seeding: Why make it rain?

The South Korean government carried out its first artificial rain experiment of the year in late January.


Written by

Updated: March 1, 2019

The trial was conducted by the Korea Meteorological Administration and the Ministry of Environment over the Yellow Sea. The results of this attempt were underwhelming, producing little more than a weak mist.

Although the experiment has been reported as a “failure” the purpose of these operations isn’t necessarily to produce rain every time, but rather to acquire data, fine-tune the process and find out if artificial rain can even be reliably stimulated. The KMA carried out 12 experiments in 2018 and has 14 more trials planned for 2019.

The data gathered by these trials will be used alongside information obtained from the 54 South Korean artificial rain experiments that have taken place since 2010.

How does it work?

Artificial rain, or cloud seeding as it’s sometimes called, sounds like something out of science fiction. It involves injecting existing clouds with chemicals like silver iodide, dry ice or salt powder to encourage the formation of ice crystals that then, if all goes to plan, turn into precipitation.

In 2017, South Korea spent $14.4 million to purchase an airplane dedicated exclusively to these trials.

South Korea isn’t the only country that makes use of this convoluted-seeming process—there are about 37 other countries running cloud-seeding operations of their own.

What problem is it meant to solve?

In the past, artificial rain has been used as an attempt to cope with severe drought. And it’s a relatively old technique. Australia, for example, has been experimenting with cloud-seeding as a drought-ending mechanism since 1947—with limited success, it should be noted.

But South Korea is not experiencing a drought. Instead, officials hope that artificial rain can be used as a tool for combating fine dust air pollution.

The fine dust problem has become a major driver of policy in South Korea within the past year. Moon Jae-in has said that tackling the issue is a primary focus of his administration, and the government has undertaken a variety of measures in response.

The South Korean government has vowed to purchase only eco-friendly vehicles for public transportation in the future and to replace all public transportation vehicles running on diesel by 2030. Old diesel vehicles have been banned from roads, and the government has taken steps to limit operations, or shut down power plants during the months when fine dust levels spike.

Artificial rain as a pollution amelioration tool isn’t a new idea. China is one of the most foremost cloud-seeding nations in the world. In 2011 alone, the country spent $150 million on one regional artificial program—the country uses cloud-seeding for the purposes of increasing grain harvests, and for improving air quality. China’s method of choice for cloud-seeding is to shoot rounds of the necessary chemicals into the sky, sometimes using rocket launchers.

Another of the most polluted countries in the world, India, has also been toying with the idea of adopting cloud-seeding, but, somewhat ironically India’s weather has made artificial rain operations tricky.

Despite long history of weather manipulation, the actual results of rain creation are inconclusive. After all, how can you tell the difference between rain that was induced, and rain that would have fallen anyway, given time?



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Quinn Libson
About the Author: Quinn Libson is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

Taiwan becomes first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage

The legislation was passed on Friday. Taiwan made history on May 17 as the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, after most lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) voted to pass a Cabinet-sponsored bill that gives gay couples the right to get married. The bill, titled Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748, cleared the legislative floor at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. The new law will take effect May 24, allowing two persons of the same gender, aged 18 or older, to register a marriage, with at least two witnesses signing the registration document. Either partner in the marriage will be allowed to adopt the biological children of the other, under the law. However, non-biological children who had been adopted by one partner before the marriage cannot be adopted by the other partner, it states. The New Power Party (NPP) caucus had submitted a motion


By ANN Members
May 19, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030

This according to a new report by Standard Chartered bank. Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030 as the country’s per capita income will grow nearly four times throughout the 2020s, according to Standard Chartered — in yet another endorsement of its tremendous growth momentum. The per capita income of Bangladesh will rise to $5,734.6 in 2030. India’s will edge up to $5,423.4 after growing less than three times, according to a research note from Madhur Jha, Standard Chartered India’s head of thematic research, and David Mann, the bank’s global chief economist. Last year, Bangladesh’s per capita income stood at $1,599.8 and India’s $1,913.2. The note highlights the economies around the world that are likely to grow the fastest in the 2020s. The threshold for the list is 7 percent, the approximate growth rate at which an economy can double in size every 10 years.


By Daily Star
May 17, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

Kami Rita Sherpa climbs Everest for the 23rd time

Sherpa breaks his own record and is untouched as the man who has summited Everest the most number of times. Soft-spoken and always smiling, Kami Rita Sherpa is an affable man. At 49, he is lean and wiry, with a forehead burnt brown from the sun. But his amiable manner belies his accomplishments. On Wednesday morning, Kami Rita Sherpa scaled Mount Everest for the 23rd time, breaking his own record for the most ascents of the world’s highest peak. On the mountain, Kami Rita is seemingly unstoppable. But despite his unparalleled feats of skill and endurance on the world’s highest peak, he remains humble. “Climbing is my duty,” Kami Rita had told the Post in April, before he returned to Everest. “It’s not about the money, I enjoy working on the mountains.”


By The Kathmandu Post
May 16, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

Growing number of companies not hiring smokers in Japan

Domestic firms are taking stronger action against tobacco use, going so far as to avoid hiring smokers in some cases. Domestic firms are making the move amid greater emphasis on promoting employees’ health, limiting exposure to passive smoking and boosting productivity by eliminating “smoking breaks.” Some, however, are questioning whether the latest initiatives go too far beyond existing antismoking efforts, such as the designation of smoking areas. “Combating smoking is a means through which companies can remake themselves,” Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Himawari Life Insurance Inc. President Yasuhiro Oba said after the inauguration ceremony for a corporate consortium to reduce smoking held in Tokyo last month. More than 20 companies and groups convened for the initiative. Sompo has stepped up promotion of an insurance service that helps policyho


By The Japan News
May 14, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

Nepal’s tea estate employees say enough is enough, begin indefinite strike

A special report by Tsering D Gurung looks at conditions for tea workers in Nepal. The Budhakaran Tea Estate, a sprawling property located in the town of Bhadrapur in Jhapa, would usually be teeming with activity this time of the year. Today, it is eerily quiet. Tea leaves meant to have been plucked with the onset of Spring have turned yellow. The gate to the processing factory has been locked for over a month. The only individuals working on the estate, which employs nearly 150 people, are two men guarding the owner’s home. Since April 1, tea plantation workers across eastern Nepal have gone on strike, shutting down estates to demand their employers implement the minimum daily wage and provide other benefits including social security and medical insurance guaranteed under the 2017 Labour Act. Although the law came into effect last July, almost all the workers say they have not s


By The Kathmandu Post
May 14, 2019

Culture and society, Curiosity, News

37 Bangladeshis confirmed dead in Tunisia migrant boat capsize

The news was confirmed by the Bangladesh mission to Tripoli. Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli has confirmed the deaths of 37 Bangladeshis in the boat capsize in the Mediterranean off the coast of Tunisia. “We have talked to the Red Crescent in Tunisia and reconfirmed that 51 Bangladeshis among others were on board the ship bound for Europe,” ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor of Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli, said today. Five of the survivors were sick and undergoing treatment in Tunisia, he said adding that the survivors were sheltered in an accommodation managed jointly by the Red Crescent and International Organisation for Migration in Tunisia. Ashraful said he would be flying from Tripoli to Tunisia to inquire about the accident a


By Daily Star
May 13, 2019