China will artificially change its weather if rain interrupts Beijing Olympics opening ceremony

July 16th, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, July 16 (ANI): A Chinese meteorology official has said that if bad weather threatens the opening ceremony of Beijings Olympic Games on August 8th, China has the capability to artificially change the weather.

Chen Zhenlin, a vice director with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), made the statement.

According to Zhenlin, meteorologists have made preparations for artificial weather modification since 2003, especially on reducing rainfall.

Artificial weather modification could be useful when a drizzle occurs, he said.

The proposed plan includes planes and rockets spreading silver iodine and dry ice high into the atmosphere to target cumulonimbus clouds and induce rain before the clouds veer toward the Olympic venues.

Though the chance of rain during the opening ceremony is slimmer than reported earlier, but thunderstorms, high temperatures and muggy skies still pose a threat to the Beijing Olympics.

An analysis of weather data from 1975 to 2007 from the Haidian district observatory, the closest to the Birds Nest where the opening ceremony will be held, shows the chance of rain spoiling the show is 41 percent, according to Qiao Lin, chief forecaster of China Meteorological Administration (CMA).

Qiao held out further hope for a perfect opening day for the Games, saying that even if it rains, it will be light.

But inclement weather could still play spoilsport during the 17-day Games, said Zhenlin. Thunderstorms, heavy rain, high temperatures, muggy skies and even hailstorms could be a problem, he added.

Beijing has made every possible effort to prevent bad weather from interrupting the Games. It even rescheduled it from July 25-Aug 10 to Aug 8-24 to avoid the rainy season.

According to CMA spokesman Yu Xinwen, global warming has made extreme weather a more frequent and intensive affair.

This year has been especially bad for China, starting from the snowstorms in February to the recent heavy rain and floods and Beijing experiencing its wettest June in 15 years, he said.

Meteorological offices will intensify their efforts, especially during the Games, to forecast accurate weather on an hourly basis.

Weather experts from former Olympic host countries, such as the US, Canada, Japan and Australia, will be in China in August to share their expertise and technology, said Zhenlin.

Weather forecasting satellite Fengyun-3A (FY-3A), launched recently, is expected to begin functioning before the Games, and, together with FY-1D, FY-2C and FY-2D satellites, offer more precise weather data. (ANI)

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