The Texas Weather Modification Program: Objectives, Approach and Progress

George W Bomar, William L Woodley, Dale L Bates

Abstract


Texas has a lengthy history of efforts by residents in semi-arid regions of the state to ameliorate the impact of periodic severe, even extreme, droughts by using cloud-seeing technology. Numerous rain-augmentation endeavors during the epic drought of the 1950s prompted the Texas Legislature to enact a statute governing the future use of weather-modification technology.  That measure was followed by an effort, in concert with federal agencies, to assess the utility of rain-enhancement technology through a comprehensive, though often fitful, atmospheric-research program administered by Texas water agencies in the 1970s and 1980s.  It was only after these multi-year research projects yielded substantial and compelling evidence that cloud seeding had efficacy with deep convective clouds in semi-arid portions of Texas that a coordinated, State-funded rain-enhancement program evolved, now covering nearly one-quarter of the state's acreage.  With newer technologies being brought to bear in cloud-seeding operations and in the assessment of those activities, and with more political entities in the state now viewing cloud-seeding technology as a viable, long-term water management strategy and not a short-term, quick-fix to the drought problem, the foundation is being set for even more widespread usage of cloud seeding in the Lone Star State.

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