China's weather modification plan hits a snag

Chris Chase

In the years leading up to the Beijing Games, Chinese officials insisted that they would be able to keep rain out of the Olympic forecast using weather-modification devices. Yesterday, a massive downpour in Beijing forced the postponement of over 40 Olympic competitions. Mother Nature: 1. Beijing municipal weather bureau: 0.

In 2006, the head meteorologist of Beijing's weather bureau told a Chinese magazine:

"We can turn a cloudy day into a dry and sunny one by shooting the clouds less intensively than when we make rain."

The plan was met with skepticism by outside researchers. According to reports earlier this year, members of the 37,000 person 'weather modification' team privately expressed doubts about the program, even as the Chinese propaganda machine was still openly boasting about its success.

Yesterday, the skeptics were proven correct and Chinese officials were left to wonder whether they could have staged the rowing events in the rainwater that collected in Tiananmen Square.

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