Overview: The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune conducted a cloud seeding experiment in Solapur city and found that rainfall could be increased by 18%.
The experiment, known as the Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX), was carried out over two monsoon seasons. The project also highlighted the economic benefits, indicating a cost of 18 paisa per litre for the water produced through cloud seeding.
Experiment Name: CAIPEEX phase-4
Clouds: 276 convective clouds were chosen; 150 were seeded, and 122 were not.
Seeding Material: Calcium chloride flare
Aircraft: Two aircraft were used for the study and seeding.
Effectiveness: Cloud seeding increased rainfall by approximately 8.67mm or 867 million litres in total.
Cost-Effectiveness: The cost was 18 paisa per litre but could drop by 50% with the use of indigenous aircraft.
Limitations: Not all clouds are suitable for seeding; only 20-25% of cumulus clouds resulted in rainfall when seeded correctly.
Provides a new tool for managing drought conditions and water scarcity.
Sets a precedent for how cloud seeding could be implemented in other areas.
Convective clouds are formed due to the upward movement of warm, moist air. This movement is termed "convection," and it occurs when the Earth's surface heats up, causing the air just above it to warm, rise, and cool as it gains altitude.
Once the rising air reaches a certain height, the moisture it contains begins to condense into water droplets, forming clouds. Convective clouds often lead to weather events like thunderstorms. They are usually vertically-developed and can vary from small cumulus clouds to larger cumulonimbus clouds capable of producing severe weather conditions.
Aerosols refer to tiny particles or droplets suspended in the air. These can be either natural or human-made and include things like dust, pollen, soot, and even liquid droplets.
Aerosols play a significant role in climate and weather, affecting the Earth's radiation balance and cloud formation. They can scatter sunlight back into space, cooling the Earth, or absorb sunlight, leading to a warming effect
. In the context of cloud seeding, aerosols serve as cloud condensation nuclei, providing a surface for water vapor to condense on, which aids in cloud formation and precipitation.