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The Stream Official Blog

Jan 14
The Stream

Dry states turn to cloud seeding to make it rain

A wing-mounted generator emits particles of silver iodide for cloud seeding.
Charlie Riedel/AP.
The Stream (Al Jazeera)

Regions of the U.S. that experience dry winters and anticipate lower than average snowfalls are turning to a technology known as 'cloud seeding' that helps maximize precipitation. Nevada and Idaho are among ten U.S. states using the 50-year-old technology this winter in the hopes of lessening future droughts.

Cloud seeding works by releasing particles of silver iodide into the atmosphere either by plane or by a ground-based installation in high altitude. The particles give water molecules more to latch onto in existing clouds, and can increase precipitation as much as 10 percent over the course of a season. Cloud seeding cannot create clouds and only works at temperatures under 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The infographic below shows how the process works. 

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