Cloud Seeding Plans to Bring Back Rain to MexicoBy María Fernanda Barría | Thu, 06/24/2021 - 13:04
Mexico has experienced devastating droughts and numerous forest fires in recent months. In an effort to mitigate these effects, governmental entities have launched this month a Rainfall Stimulation Plan or Cloud Seeding in several states of the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) and the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA) will launch the program in Sinaloa, Sonora and Chihuahua this month, aiming to benefit agricultural and livestock producers. The program consists of releasing silver iodide molecules into the clouds to precipitate rain.
The stimulation of rainfall is expected to recover soil humidity, allowing the growth of livestock feed, the planting of rainfed crops and the monitoring of water inflow to the dams. The purpose is to mitigate the drought to benefit pastures, cornfields, and traditional crops.
The government had already started a pilot program in Baja California and SADER indicated that the program operated successfully during February and March, in an area of 1,015,221 hectares covering the town of San Vicente and the agricultural zone of San Quintín. The pilot program benefited approximately 10,000 residents in the perimeter area and 3,000 farmers. The program included a productive zone with a high production value of around 10 percent of Baja California's agriculture, representing approximately 30 percent of the state's economy.
SADER and the National Commission of Arid Zones (CONAZA) experts report the project will last about three months. It will begin the last week of June in Sinaloa when appropriate cloud conditions for the project are expected to form. Approximately 20 to 25 flights supported by the Mexican Air Force will operate around the three entities to transport the silver iodide molecules to spray between the clouds to take advantage of the entire agricultural season.
The planning and programming of these flights are based on the analysis of meteorological conditions supported by information obtained through mobile applications and satellite images. Experts designated nearly two million hectares for each of the states, strategically outlining where the best cloud conditions are found and obtain the maximum effect of the precipitation to be generated.
As previously reported by MBN, drought has affected 84 percent of the country. "Large dams throughout Mexico are at exceptionally low levels, which depletes water resources for drinking, cultivating and irrigating," reported the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA). Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City's mayor, described it as the worst drought in 30 years for the city.