50% Decrease in Air pollution Because of Artificial Rain
Cloud Seeding for Artificial Rain: Another attempt by Delhi Government
According to Doctors, for any healthy person, a recommended AQI should be less than 50, but since the onset of winters in the national capital, the AQI has spiked beyond 400. Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide range of diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, trachea, bronchus and aggravated asthma and lower respiratory infections. In extreme cases, it even poses a risk of lung cancer. Simultaneously affirming that Breathing in the polluted air in Delhi is said to be like smoking around 10 cigarettes a day.
Cloud Seeding: A Solution to Delhi’s Air Quality Crisis
In the bid to tackle Delhi’s alarming AQI crossing 600 levels (extremely “hazardous” as per Delhi Pollution Board), the Government has introduced a new method to curb Air Pollution after discussion with CII & IIT Kanpur.
IIT Kanpur, spearheading this initiative, has presented an exhaustive plan for introducing artificial rain in Delhi. Crafted by seasoned experts, the plan harnesses advanced cloud seeding technology, promising a revolutionary approach to address the city’s persistent air quality issues.
However, recent updates have introduced an element of uncertainty over the project’s timeline. Initially slated for November 20 or 21, the induction of artificial rain was postponed due to unfavourable meteorological conditions, considering the challenges associated with such innovative environmental initiatives.
But What is Cloud Seeding?
Cloud seeding is a man-made technique designed to augment rainfall by introducing specific substances into clouds, serving diverse purposes such as mitigating droughts, averting forest fires, amplifying precipitation, and improving air quality.
Procedure of Artificial Rain/ Cloud Seeding
In the process of cloud seeding, aircraft and helicopters disperse chemicals like silver iodide, potassium iodide, and dry ice into the atmosphere. These substances attract water vapor, culminating in the creation of rain clouds. Typically, it takes around half an hour for this method to effectively induce precipitation.
It is worth noting that this method depends on the existence of moisture-rich clouds, which can be inconsistent and difficult to forecast. It’s a fascinating method used to influence weather patterns for agricultural, environmental, or water resource management purposes.
The success of cloud seeding has been witnessed in various countries, including the UAE, China, and Russia, highlighting the global interest in weather modification methods. One notable success was during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where cloud seeding was used to prevent rain during the opening ceremony, ensuring a rain-free event.
Delhi’s commitment to this initiative is evident as the Government is prepared to bear the entire cost of Phase 1 and Phase 2 pilots (totalling ₹13 Crore) for the artificial rain project. This proactive approach by the Arvind Kejriwal Govt. underscores the urgency and importance of adopting innovative measures to combat air pollution in the city.
While Delhi has been considering cloud seeding to create artificial rain to fight the smog in the capital for two weeks now, things are yet to kick-off. Scientists have been waiting for the right meteorological conditions, namely plenty of clouds and correct humidity levels as Wind speed plays a vital role, too.
Despite being an experimental attempt, the Delhi Government’s cloud seeding attempt to reduce pollution remains a significant step forward. The initiative signifies the city’s dedication to exploring unconventional solutions to combat environmental challenges, emphasizing the need for a multi-faceted approach.
Artificial rain, achieved through processes like cloud seeding, presents both benefits and potential environmental impacts.
Benefits of Artificial Rain:
- Improved Air Quality: Artificial rain can help mitigate air pollution by capturing particulate matter and other pollutants, contributing to enhanced air quality.
- Drought Mitigation: Regions facing water scarcity or drought conditions can benefit from artificial rain techniques, providing a sustainable water source for various purposes, including agriculture.
- Crop Yield Enhancement: Artificial rain has the potential to boost agricultural productivity by providing much-needed water for crops, ultimately improving yields.
Environmental Impacts of Artificial Rain:
- Climate Pattern Changes: Unregulated artificial rain methods may lead to changes in climatic patterns, necessitating careful control to prevent unintended consequences.
- Water Resource Management: While beneficial for agriculture, artificial rain requires meticulous water resource management to avoid overuse and environmental stress.
- Ecological Concerns: The introduction of artificial rain can have ecological implications, impacting local flora and fauna. Ensuring a balance between environmental benefits and ecological preservation is crucial.
Understanding these benefits and potential impacts is essential for responsible implementation and management of artificial rain initiatives.
A research by Alan Robock, from the Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, during his research stated that Risks or concerns like unwanted ecological changes, ozone depletion, continued ocean acidification, erratic changes in rainfall patterns, rapid warming if seeding were to be stopped abruptly, airplane effects, to name a few, may just not be bad enough to override the imperative to keep temperatures down.
Stay tuned for further updates on this evolving Environmental Initiative and News Updates.