China’s top economic planning agency has approved a 1.15 billion yuan ($167 million) rainmaking project for the country’s dry northwestern provinces in one of the biggest government programs to modify weather. According to the National Development and Reform Commission, a feasibility study by the China Meteorological Administration found that rainfall and snow could be increased in an area of 960,000 sq km, 10% of the country’s territory, if the proposed investments were made. The NDRC approved the budget to buy four new planes, upgrade eight existing aircraft, develop 897 rocket launch devices and connect 1,856 devices to digital control systems, the South China Morning Post reports. The whole project will take three years. The usual practice of making rain is to use aircraft or rockets to “seed” clouds with catalysts such as dry ice to induce or increase rainfall to relieve drought.
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