Cloud-seeding site walk-through and demonstration
5:47

Cloud-seeding site walk-through and demonstration

Science
We're here in Santa Barbara County, home to one of the longest running cloud seeding operations in the country. We've got some ground based cloud seeding equipment right here and we're gonna get to hear all about how it works and see it in action. Let's check it out. [MUSIC] Cloud seeding is the most common type of weather modification and it has many different techniques and applications. Today it's mostly used to increase rain and snowfall, reduce the size of hail, and reduce fog in airports.. Traditionally, cloud seeding has been done from the air so aeroplanes have had racks on them where the same flares are positioned on the aeroplane and the aeroplane flies into the storm. So in order to reduce the cost of the client and reduce our carbon footprint, we've been able to station these on the ground. Now we can do this in places where weather permits behind a barbed wire fence designed to keep away curious cattle The cloud seeding gear awaits the right kind of weather. So these are referred to as a hogs, that stands for automated high output ground seeding systems. We've got three primary components of our equipment here. The first is the control module that you see behind me. We have our actual cloud seeding flares, the cameras for security. It also helps us observe weather conditions in real time and make sure that all of the equipment is operating correctly during a storm. Inside these canisters are the flares with the seeding agents. The canisters are used as a spark arrestor so they prevent sparks from reaching the ground. We pull off the spark arrestor you can see the flare inside the ignition of the flares are controlled from the control module that's behind us. So the white triangle there is a cell service modem. And then the solar panel keeps us powered. Inside we have a battery and then a control board. So the control board interacts with the software were linked or synced with software. In Utah currently, and that allows us to fire or ignite any of the flares from that remote location. Because of the lack of clouds and proper wind conditions, today is not a good day for cloud seeding at all. But Garrett and his team are going to light a flare for us anyway, so we can show you how it works. There's just one small problem The battery in the control module died shortly before we arrived, but it's nothing a little jumpstart can't fix. After a little juice from Garrett's truck, it's time to set off the flare. [SOUND] The primary seeding agent and this is silver iodide. silver iodide is a simple compound. It's polar in nature like water. So there's chemical properties that help attract water molecules to silver iodide. It's also structured molecularly similar to Ice, so it helps generate or helps spawn the generation of ice filled up and then that becomes a hillstone or a snowflake that falls here primarily as rain. So one flair like this has billions and billions of potential sites for that water to congregate around. We'll launch them in sequences. We watch the radar to see when fans of the highest concentration of liquid water are passing above us in the clouds. We try to target those high concentration pockets in the storm systems. We'll launch between three and 20 flares for a typical storm. Once the flare is lit, it takes a little bit of time to carry up into the clouds and once it's up but at the proper elevation will take about 20 minutes to instigate the rain. Or the snow process,so overall you're probably looking at about 40 to 45 minutes before you're seeing the maximum result and that's why we're stationed miles away from our target area. So we have very specific targets that drain directly into major water basins. And we timed these events to correlate with rain above those intended targets. One of the biggest questions or most common questions that we receive relates to the safety of silver iodide silver is biologically inert so it will not interact in a negative fashion with plant or animal life. Iodine is actually a critical building block of a number of hormones and animals so it is safe as well. In fact, if you look at table salt or baby formula, you'll see iodine and its molecular form as an additive in those commonly consumed substances. But what about other potential adverse effects, cloud seeding effect? Communities outside the targeted areas. Sometimes there is a concern about robbing Peter to pay Paul. So are we benefiting California at the expense of Nevada? And the truth is that storm systems when they move over off the coastline, only about 10% of that moisture is going to fall in the form of precip And we're looking at increasing that to about 11%. Because we have about a 10% increase in the natural storms productivity. So going from 10% to 11% in California has an insignificant impact on the amount of precept that will still be available in Nevada or Utah. built into the programme are kind of checks to make sure that we don't Come across anything negative. When there are high intensity storms, we won't see if the reservoirs are full, we won't see if the rivers are flowing a lot, maybe near flood capacity. We won't seed We hope that the conditions that exist right now. Will turn around and that we will not face the severity of droughts that we're facing particularly this year. But a number of scientific articles are suggesting otherwise. And as we look into the future, we need to again consider conservation first. So the ability for is to conserve how we use water and the ways that we store the water And then later on that efforts like weather modification and cloud seeding, to help increase the rainfall that we do receive. It's very important that we take advantage of every opportunity we have to generate water in a sustainable way. Hope this video CD your imagination, conserve water. See you next time

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