China is to expand an experimental programme to control the weather by dictating the skies above an area spanning millions of kilometres.
The State Council said it will boost its ability to create snow, rain or beautiful clear skies to an "advanced level" by 2035.
Chinese officials are to drastically expand the experimental weather modification programme so it covers an area more than 1.5 times the size of India.
According to a statement, China will have a “developed weather modification system” by 2025 thanks to breakthroughs in research.
In the next five years, an area covered by pre-determined snow and rain will reach 5.5 million sq km, while over 580,000 sq km will be covered by hail suppression technologies.
China has long wanted to control the skies in a bid to protect farming and ensure nice weather for key events.
It seeded clouds ahead of the 20098 Beijing Olympics to reduce smog and avoid rain, CNN reported.
And key political meetings in the Chinese capital are often blessed with beautiful clear skies, thanks to man-made modifications.
The cabinet plan said China would continue its artificial weather operations in key areas like the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, as well as the major ecological protection zones of the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.
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Chinese scientists are working on the ambitious Tianhe – “sky river” – plan to divert water vapour northwards from the Yangtze basin to the Yellow River basin, where it would become rainfall, The Guardian reported.
China will also build up its scientific capabilities and establish an experimental base and laboratory to improve its ability to induce or prevent rain, eliminate fog and improve air quality.
Cloud seeding is not a new concept, having been mooted by scientists since the 1940s.
Seeding works by injecting small amounts of silver iodide into clouds with a lot of moisture, which then condenses around the new particles, becoming heavier and eventually falling as precipitation.
The binding agent can be dropped from plane or shot up in a rocket, The Times reported, although scientists say it is not always clear that it works.
Between 2012 and 2017, China spent over $1.34 billion on various weather modification programs.
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