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$400 000 for cloud seeding

by Staff reporter
11 Nov 2018 at 09:25hrs | Views
THE Meteorological Service Department will begin cloud seeding by month-end to help induce rains in a season expected to be blighted by the El Niño weather phenomenon.

Government set aside $400 000 for the exercise after meteorologists forecast normal to below-normal rains for the 2018/2019 season.

The MSD's Mr James Ngoma said cloud seeding was tentatively set to begin late this month "as atmospheric conditions become conducive".

"Government unveiled a budgetary allocation for cloud seeding at the beginning of 2018, as standard in every budget year. The department has contractually acquired two aircrafts — one in Harare and the other one in Bulawayo — to be on standby, ready to operationalise the programme as soon as atmospheric conditions become conducive.

"Cloud seeding on average starts late November or December; it is variable as the start of the rainfall season is variable from one (season) to the other," said Mr Ngoma.

Climate change, he said, made it increasingly difficult to set exact dates for the programme.

When successfully done, cloud seeding augments rainfall.

Experts say the process doesn't have any side effects as the silver iodide used — a key component in the procedure — is essentially naturally occurring salt.

El Niño is associated with above-average warming of sea surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean and is usually associated with reduced rainfall activity over Sub-Saharan Africa.

Source - zimpapers

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