How Tokyo wants to control the weather. – Politics

Optimism is when you still believe in a technical solution. At least that’s how it seems in Japan, because there are a lot of ideas to combat the effects of global warming. bee death? Japanese scientists have developed soap bubbles that can be used to pollinate gardens. Before the 2020 Olympics, when the whole world was afraid of problems due to the summer heat in Tokyo, cooling of the stands with artificial snow was tested. And of course, the island nation is not giving up in the face of climate change: the Tokyo metropolitan government has built new rain-producing systems.

The art of manipulating the weather to increase rainfall is relatively old. It was invented in 1946 by the American company General Electric. Salts or other chemicals are sprayed onto the clouds so that tiny water droplets stick to them, creating larger water droplets heavy enough to fall to the ground. In some states, the method is considered a hope. For example, in China, the United Arab Emirates or Thailand, there are expensive programs for creating your own weather using planes, rockets or drones. This technology is not new to Japan either. In 1966, after a drought in the 1950s, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government built four rain generators at the Oguchi Reservoir, 40 miles west of the city. In total, they blew silver iodide into the clouds for 800 days to get more water for Japan’s largest reservoir.

Since 2001, however, almost no more. The Olympic and Paralympic Games, which took place not in 2020 but in 2021 due to the coronavirus, prompted Tokyo to build new facilities. And now, artificial rain has once again become part of the water supply strategy. According to the Tokyo Bureau of Water Resources Management, it rains about twice as much as the world average. But rainfall per capita is relatively low in the densely populated island nation. Therefore, the dry phases of 2013 and 2016 were considered a warning. Also, you want to do something about the effects of climate change. Anything.

Scientists disagree about whether so-called cloud seeding works correctly. Also: Clouds that are forced to rain no longer bring rain elsewhere. When China announced last year that it would wet some 5.5 million square kilometers of land with homemade rain by 2025, India felt threatened. Does the neighbor sell the monsoons on which India’s agriculture depends? And what does cloud seeding mean for the environment? “If I, as a state, do this structurally every day across the country, I sprinkle the entire country with silver iodide,” said Hamburg meteorologist Frank Böttcher in an interview with n-tv in 2021, “no one has any idea what those fields are. and foodstuffs.”

Nature cannot be outwitted at will, as we know it in Japan. Pollen bubbles are not a true substitute for bees. Olympic snowmaking has remained an idea. And the Tokyo government admits that the new generators bring in no more than five percent more rain, weather permitting. Because without clouds and the right wind, modern raincoats are at a stalemate.

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