Russian scientists create artificial cloud

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August 28, 2010, 8:35 pm

(NECN/CNN) - Who said humans can't control the weather?

A team of scientists in Russia are working on just that. Scientists at the Institute of Experimental Meteorology have been studying weather experiments for 50 years, and they've just started looking at how artificial clouds might behave in the sky.

"Here we study the physical basis of the formation of clouds, the processes of condensation, solidification, and so on," said Anatoly Savchenko.

Their cloud only takes about 40 minutes to create, and it's so thick that it's probably possible to even walk or hide behind it.

They say they could use this technology to actually provoke or prevent rain.

"Looking at a map of the recent forest fires in Russia, I've noticed that in some situations our technologies will allow us to extinguish fires more effectively. Between 20 and 40 kilos of reagent can cause precipitation of about 50 000 tons of rainwater," said laboratory chief Alexey Shilin. 

Their studies say that the easiest way to start a rain cloud is to use a salt-based reagent, which is inexpensive and environmentally-friendly.

"What is happening now with the weather is abnormal," said Savchenko. "Therefore, the long-term task is to stabilize the climate. For now, global warming is progressing. The water level in the global ocean is increasing, the glaciers are melting. Therefore, we must be prepared to face these processes." 

They're currently using "atmospheric manipulation" to do things like clear the sky on national holidays. However, they hope that one day humans may actually be able to help control the climate to prevent any major harmful surprises.

Tags: rain, weather, Russia, climate change, scientists , artificial cloud, fires, Institute of Experimental Meteorology
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