so tomorrow, oct 1, is china’s 60th anniversary. well, it’s right now, since they are 15 hours ahead of me. anyways, they are making sure everything is going well and as planned. they were the first country to distribute h1n1 vaccines. stuff like that. so much preparation. so much that they are even changing the weather to make sure it is nice!!! that’s so cool. in 60 years, china has basically done everything! they have controlled america. they have controlled the world’s economy. and now they control the weather. wowow! i wonder what they’ll be able to accomplish if they have a 100 year anniversary. will be something amazing. anyways, i kind of want to watch china’s anniversary show. i guess i’ll find a video online or something. too bad youtube is blocked by the great firewall of china. and it is midterms time.
China Hopes, and Tries, for Rain-Free Festivities
By ANDREW JACOBS
Published: September 30, 2009
BEIJING — As nearly 190,000 dancers, politicians, soldiers and fighter pilots prepared for the highly synchronized extravaganza marking the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China on Thursday, perhaps no one was feeling more performance anxiety than Guo Hu, Beijing’s chief weatherman.
While meteorologists in much of the world are simply charged with forecasting rain or shine, Mr. Guo and his colleagues at the Beijing Municipal Meteorological Station were also responsible for making sure the weather is of the crowd-pleasing variety. “If we make a mistake with our work, the impact will be huge,” Mr. Guo, a soft spoken scientist, told a news conference this week. “We are under a lot of pressure.”
Meteorologists said their efforts to prevent foul weather on Oct. 1 involved satellites, 400 scientists, cloud-probing lasers and a squadron of transport planes capable of sprinkling liquid nitrogen into pregnant clouds. “It is the first time in Chinese history that artificial weather modification on such a large scale has been attempted,” Cui Lianqing, an air force meteorologist, told Global Times newspaper last week.
During the Olympics, technicians fired off 1,100 rockets that delivered chemical catalysts into a band of clouds, and, according to the Chinese media, provoked rainfall that might have otherwise soaked the opening ceremonies.
Last winter, as drought parched Beijing and the surrounding countryside, aging antiaircraft batteries on the city’s outskirts shot more than 500 pencil-thin sticks of silver iodide into the heavens. Coincidentally or not, three days of snowfall graced the capital soon after.
Cloud seeding, as its known, is not an exact science. In fact, many scientists in the United States remain dubious over claims that humans can increase precipitation or forestall bad weather. But such cynicism has not dampened China’s enthusiasm for rainmaking.
According to the China Academy of Meteorological Sciences, more than 37,000 people are employed in weather modification nationwide. These programs cost $63 million a year, but the society claims they produce benefits worth $1.7 billion.
Success for National Day would be priceless. On Wednesday, 18 planes were prepared to deliver payloads of dry ice, salt and silver iodide should clouds prove menacing. If daybreak on Thursday brings fog, 48 specialized vehicles will cough out streams of air to chase away any miasma that could obscure the colored streams released by 150 fighter jets.
“The air force pays high attention to the artificial weather manipulation and we believe that the more equipment applied, the larger the area we can manipulate and the better weather we can have,” Mr. Cui, the air force meteorologist, told Xinhua, the official news agency, on Tuesday.
If the latest forecasts are accurate, the air force can relax. During the weather news conference on Tuesday, Wang Jianjie, deputy of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, declared that there would be rain between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Thursday but that clouds would yield to patchy sunshine by the time President Hu Jintao addressed the nation from Tiananmen Square. In the first minutes of Thursday, Beijing was shrouded with fog and already being doused by steady drizzle.
Otherwise, Ms. Wang said, the main worry was a potentially strong northerly breeze, although it was not clear whether it could impact the evening’s firework display. Despite its prodigious abilities, the bureau, she allowed, is not yet in a position to stop the wind.