What is the Actual Benefit from Cloud Seeding?


  • David L Newsome Atmospherics Incorporated Fresno, California


Since Vincent Schaefer’s Cold Box experiment in the late 1940’s, cloud seeding has been used to increase rainfall, enhance snowfall, and decreased damaging hail throughout the world. One of the most frequent uses of cloud seeding has been as an aid to dry land agriculture. There have been numerous programs conducted with claims of precipitation being increased by X%, it is often unclear whether this claimed increase applies to the entire Target Area or whether it occurs on a more localized area. While some portions of the Target Area will benefit greatly from seeding, an X% increase can sometimes be an insignificant amount of water in relation to the entire Target Area. Even over a relatively small area like a single county, there will be natural variations in annual precipitation. These can be the result of topographay as well as climatological influences and these variations in precipitation can have a major impact on the overall benefit of cloud seeding to the Target Area. However, with digital radar systems and software, such as TITAN, Thunderstorm Identification, Tracking And Nowcasting (Dixon and Weiner, 1993), in use today on many of these programs, a concerted effort should be made to determine the actual, as opposed to the assumed, benefits from X%.






Technical Notes and Correspondence