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Cloud Seeding In Australia
Monday, 15 March 2004





Cloud seeding, a hi tec method of trying to persuade clouds to dump snow, is to be attempted in Australia's Snowy Mountains this coming southern hemisphere winter. The process, increasingly popular in Colorado, USA and also tried on the Australian island of Tasmania involves firing small amounts of silver iodide into specially targeted clouds, with the aim of increasing precipitation by 'weighing down' minute water particles in the clouds.

The objective of the initiative is to try to increase river flow in the Murray River system, but if successful ski areas may also benefit from increased snowfall thanks to the privately-funded trial, which will cost Snowy Hydro Limited, Australia's largest hydro-electric company, $4 million a year for five years,

The research project will target a 1,000 sq km area in Kosciuszko National Park, which attracts a million skiers each winter. The New South Wales government believe that cloud seeding will help counter the effects of global warming. An 11-member expert panel had assessed the research proposal and agreed it would not significantly impact on the environment.

Snowy Hydro believes that cloud seeding will create 70 gigalitres for power creation, based on a ten per cent increase in snow fall, or three to four inches (7.5 - 10cm) on the slopes.

Sceptics of cloud seeding in Colorado have claimed there is no evidence of it having any affect on snowfall and that the damage to the environment or otherwise is unknown.

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