China: One of the most important events to take place in China this year, the commemoration of the centenary of the Communist Party in Tiananmen Square on July 1st, also served as an important challenge for the country’s scientists: to change the climate. As the capital Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world, this was not the scenario idealized by political leaders for the apotheotic celebration.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), an English-language newspaper published in Hong Kong, some scientists at Tsinghua University explained that authorities wanted to ensure a clear, blue and bright sky. Thus, specialists in climate management resorted to a technique already used in the country on other occasions: cloud seeding.
Scientists explained that, to ensure favorable weather, the Chinese government launched a massive operation in which it “tied” clouds with chemicals to cause rain in Beijing’s industrial suburbs and surrounding areas, just before the centennial party began. .
Risks and uncertainties of cloud seeding
The seeding, a process that involves bombarding clouds with silver iodide particles to attract water droplets, was so successful that it became a research paper, in which the authors, scientists at Peking University, estimate that the artificial rain created by the process also reduced the level of atmospheric pollutant PM2.5 by more than two-thirds, improving air quality from “moderate” to “good” by WHO (World Health Organization) standards.
Published in the Chinese scientific journal Environmental Science, the peer-reviewed study ensures that the Communist Party’s centennial celebration was preceded by an effective climate change as well as a drop in environmental pollution. For senior researcher Wang Can, this could be proven, as “artificial rain was the only disturbing event in this period.”
But the atmospheric change was not limited to the July 1 ceremony. China currently has one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated climate change networks, with an expansion of the program announced to a gigantic area of 14.2 million square kilometers. The initiative is generating concern in neighboring countries, due to uncertainties about possible environmental impacts of the use of technology in the region.