Cloud seeding could come to New Mexico | KOB 4

Cloud seeding could come to New Mexico

Eddie Garcia
February 28, 2018 10:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- According to a recent study from the National Science Foundation, artificial cloud seeding technology is effective in certain situations.


It's becoming an attractive option for moisture starved areas to increase the amount of water in rivers and reservoirs by increasing mountain snowpack.

How exactly does cloud seeding work? The National Science Foundation says in their experiment, planes dropped something called silver iodide into clouds. Super-cooled water droplets already up there are highly attracted to silver iodide and use it as a nucleus form a snowflake.

"That allows that supercooled water droplet to condense onto the silver iodide, creates an ice crystal and allows it to fall as precipitation," said Daniel Porter, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Albuquerque.

Porter said the government isn't currently in the cloud seeding business. However, some water districts in the Rocky Mountain States are. Colorado has been using the technology since the 1970s

"Every drop does certainly count and if cloud seeding does just increase those precipitation efficiencies -- hopefully that will be some good news for our area," Porter said.

While the science of cloud seeding is sound, Porter said it's difficult to tell exactly how effective it really is.

"What's really challenging at this point in time is the atmosphere, he said. "It continues to evolve and we don't really have a controlled environment to test these experiments."

A paper by Pew Trusts says the technology may soon come to New Mexico depending on whether western states want to agree to a program. Could this be a cure for the drought?

"I don't anticipate this is going to bust any droughts across the southwestern United States," Porter said.


Eddie Garcia

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