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Cloud seeding experiment with aircraft flops

After meeting with success a fortnight ago,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s cloud seeding experiment did not yield positive results on Sunday.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
August 25, 2009 1:49:00 am

After meeting with success a fortnight ago,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s cloud seeding experiment did not yield positive results on Sunday.

Civic officials said that cloud seeding was carried out in the catchment areas of Tansa and Modak Sagar lakes using aircraft on Sunday and Monday. “The flight operated twice in the catchment areas between 3 pm and 4 pm,” a senior civic official said. He said,“However,we did not record rainfall. Agni aviation will submit a report on all the experiments by the end of this week.”

The rainfall data compiled by the BMC shows that on Sunday while there was no rainfall in Modak Sagar,Tansa recorded 21 mm rainfall. On Monday after 3 pm there was no rainfall recorded in these areas.

In cloud seeding,sodium iodide is sprinkled in the clouds through aircraft which operates between 5,500 feet and 22,000 feet as per the permission given by the aviation ministry.

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“The weather conditions are not ideal to carry out the cloud seeding experiment. There was sunlight,yet at a higher cloud level the seeding was carried out. It is difficult to confirm the amount of rainfall in the lakes,but it did rain in the surrounding areas,” the official added. However,with little or no rainfall and the lake levels dipping,officials said there are not many options to explore.

“We can only depend on the cloud seeding method and induce rainfall so that lakes rise to a comfortable level.”

Agni aviation has been awarded the contract of Rs 8 crore to carry out the experiment for 60 days. The aircraft flies from Ozhar base in Nashik while radar to determine the exact weather condition in 200 km radius will be installed by the end of this week. Additional Municipal Commissioner (projects) Anil Diggikar had said that the aerial cloud seeding experiment should yield results as the drought prone Andhra Pradesh government has been conducting it for the last four years successfully.

BMC has also carried around five experiments of manual cloud seeding of which three failed while two yielded the highest rainfall of 16 mm.

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