People around the world, especially farmers, see rain as an essential water source. Without it, some regions have to deal with droughts that cause crops to die and have other harmful effects. Thanks to a revolutionary technology, called cloud seeding, such a problem is remedied. However, being fairly early on in its development stages, the technique has become a subject in debates. The full impact of cloud seeding is still not fully known, but it is helpful to what its pros and cons are so far.
List of Pros of Cloud Seeding
1. It creates rain.
One big benefit of cloud seeding is being able to create rain in regions that are most affected by droughts, lessening the impact of the harsh climate. By using the technique, farms can yield more crops due to the fact that farmers will be able to grow plants in areas that might not have supported them in the past. This means cloud seeding can get rid of famine in the future.
2. It makes all areas more hospitable.
There are dry regions of the world that are not habitable or even unsuitable for a visit due to drought. However, cloud seeding can allow for increased rainfall in these areas, making them more hospitable. This might even attract more tourists and help the places’ overall economy as a result.
3. It could regulate the weather.
Many of the best areas to grow crops face severe weather, which can bring about damage to the produce. Through cloud seeding, the atmosphere’s water vapor will be more regulated, which will prevent damaging hail and severe storms to occur.
4. It would allow for economic improvement.
If farmers can grow and sell more crops, then the overall economy of a region would be greatly improved. Aside from agriculture, it is stated above that tourism would be boosted by cloud seeding. Dry, arid places that are previously considered as inhospitable would be transformed into desirable vacation spots, bringing in a flood of foreign currency into the economy, which then circulates among the local residents improving their living conditions. Given that it would prevent famine and boost tourism, cloud seeding may well bring economic improvements to developing countries.
5. It can provide relief to those drought-stricken areas.
Cloud seeding promotes the formation of raindrop, which is essential for drought-stricken regions or places that are suffering from water scarcity. A lot of countries that are experiencing severe drought can definitely utilize this technology to solve their problems.
6. It can reduce crop damage because of precipitation.
This technology has been effectively used to suppress undesirable forms of precipitation, such as hail, that can cause damage to crops and urban areas. It works by modifying or altering storm clouds that would otherwise produce hail and other frozen forms of precipitation.
List of Cons of Cloud Seeding
1. It uses potentially harmful chemicals.
It is important to know that cloud seeding does involve the use of chemicals into the air, which means that it can potentially harm the environment, especially plants and animals. However, the complete effect of cloud seeding on the environment as a whole is not fully known yet. Though silver iodine is not currently known to be harmful to our health today, but it might change in the future as more research is done and completed.
2. It is not really proven to be effective.
After some evaluation of its effectiveness, cloud seeding is found not to be foolproof as of the moment. The technique is mostly used on clouds that already show early signs of rainfall, so it is not known if it is actually the cause of rain. Plus, the high cost of doing it is not even believed to be justifying its effectiveness.
3. It may affect the weather in a negative way.
Though it is believed to regulate the weather, cloud seeding is feared to ultimately change climatic patterns that exist on Earth. This means that places that would normally receive moisture may start to experience drought due to the artificial process of adding compounds to the atmosphere to trigger rainfall.
4. It can pose a negative risk for living organisms.
Since cloud seeding’s process requires the placement of chemicals into the air, it would obviously have undesirable concerns for plants and animals below. How the chemicals are used in this technology will affect the organisms that will be hit by its artificial rainfall, which is exactly considered its most direct concern.
Plus, the use of silver iodine is not yet recognized whether it can lead to any severe negative effects or not on the health of plants and animals, but a lot of organizations have been continuously doing some extensive research about its long-term effects.
5. It requires huge amounts of investments.
Aside from the health of plants and animals, the cost of cloud seeding is another big concern, as it could be really costly to deliver chemicals to the sky and have them released into the air.
6. It can lead to flooding and undesirable weather problems.
Once the silver iodine and other chemicals are released into the atmosphere, there is no controlling of what type of weather would form. It is likely that there will be too much rain, which can cause the problem of flooding. This would be very difficult for regions experiencing chronic water shortage, as they probably have no system in place to deal with damage to be caused by flooding. Hail is another risk that can cause a great deal of damage to property in urban areas in a short period of time. In rural communities, hail can flatten crops, causing probable food shortages. Some people even fear that, rather than solving water-shortage problems, cloud seeding would just make them worse.
Trying to cure drought is an ongoing battle, and the latest technology used for this is cloud seeding. Determining if the technique is good or bad might not be as easy as you might assume, but it can be made easier by weighing both its pros and cons.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.