China to fully utilize cloud water for artificial precipitation

April 06th, 2012 | People's Daily

The cloud water resources above China available for artificial rainfall can reach up to 280 billion tons per year, seven times that of the total storage capacity of the Three Gorges Reservoir’s impoundment level (175-meter), said Zheng Guoguang, head of China Meteorological Administration.

Zheng said, China’s average annual could water resource (including water vapor) is about 22 trillion tons, four times the average annual precipitation. But the precipitation efficiency is only about 28 percent (about 15 percent in northwest China). About 87 percent of cloud water runs off our overhead area.

At present, the volume of average artificial rainfall is only about 50 billion tons a year in China, accounting for less than 1 percent of China’s annual precipitation. The effect of artificial precipitation is 15 percent on average. According to present technical level, the artificial precipitation potential would be about 280 billion tons if we can fully develop the cloud water resource.

The meteorological department is now carrying out a study on utilizing cloud water resources in the sky, aiming to find out the status of national water resources and to develop the use of cloud water resources through active artificial means. Currently, China has more than 6,900 anti-aircraft guns and over 7,000 rocket launch pads, and leases over 50 aircraft a year for the development and utilization of the said resources.

For artificial rainfall, aircraft, anti-aircraft guns, rockets and other tools are mainly used to spread catalyst into cloud, to facilitate the process of transforming cloud water to rain water and improve the efficiency of the transformation.

Zheng said, besides cloud water resources in the sky, the meteorological department also conduct analysis and evaluation pertaining to agricultural climate, wind energy source, solar energy and other climate resources, to lay a foundation for further development and utilization of climate resources.

By Liu Yi

Edited and translated by People’s Daily Online

Category: WaterWATCH