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Playing with weather stirs debate in China

AFP [1]
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese scientists artificially induced the second major snowstorm to wreak havoc in Beijing this season, state media said, reigniting debate over the practice of tinkering with Mother Nature.

After the earliest snow to hit the capital in 22 years fell on November 1, the capital was again shrouded in white Tuesday with more snow expected in the coming three days, the National Meteorological Centre said.

The China Daily, citing an unnamed official, said the Beijing Weather Modification Office had artificially induced both storms by seeding clouds with chemicals, a practice that can increase precipitation by up to 20 percent.

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[2]

The office refused to comment on the report when contacted by AFP. On Tuesday, an official had said the storm was “natural”.

City weather officials have previously said that such methods are aimed at alleviating a drought over much of north China, including Beijing, that has lingered for more than a decade.

But residents have griped about the flight delays, traffic snarls, cancelled classes and other inconveniences of a surprise snow storm, saying officials could warn them if they are planning to toy with the clouds.

Full story here. [1]