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The strange and increasingly popular practice of cloud seeding




Aircraft technician Steve Bauer of US company Weather Modification Inc., inspects wing mounted burn-in silver iodide (dry ice) flare racks on a Piper Cheyenne II aircraft before the beginning of cloud-seeding operations.
Aircraft technician Steve Bauer of US company Weather Modification Inc., inspects wing mounted burn-in silver iodide (dry ice) flare racks on a Piper Cheyenne II aircraft before the beginning of cloud-seeding operations.
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images

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Bloomberg BusinessWeek reporter Amanda Little looks at the world of cloud seeding for this week’s issue of the magazine.

Once considered the stuff of fringe science, cloud seeding is being seen as a legitimate tool to increase rain and snow. Little reports that more than 52 countries are now actively looking into cloud seeding to make rain--the most famous proponent being China, which famously used the technology during the summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008. In the US alone, 55 cloud seeding experiments took place last year.

What’s the science behind the practice? Does it really work? What are the drawbacks? And how much rain does it really produce?

Guests:

Amanda Little, a contributor to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, whose latest piece, “Weather on Demand: Making It Rain Is Now a Global Business” appears in this week's issue.  She is also a Writer-in-Residence in the English department at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches investigative journalism and creative non-fiction

Neil Brackin, president of Weather Modification Incorporated, Inc. based in Fargo, North Dakota. With clients in 35 countries and the the US, including those in many parts of California

Robert Glennon, a water law and policy professor at the University of Arizona. He is the author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What To Do About It” (Island Press, 2010)