Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

How the Chinese always make it a White Christmas

While the rest of us were going about our usual small scale climate change recycling business this week — depositing a couple of pasta jars in the bottle bank, knitting a jumper from plastic bags, watering the begonias with used bathwater — China threw caution to the wind and struck a truly thunderous blow against global warming

.Chinese scientists made it snow.

Not in the way they do in Hollywood movies with artificial snow machines.

In the Beijing metropolitan area they elbowed Mother Nature aside entirely and made it snow real snow.

The impressively named Beijing Weather Modification Office (surely we should have a branch in Northern Ireland?) did this by firing chemicals into the clouds causing precipitation which, aided by sub zero temperatures, then fell as snow.

The scientists had been called in to end a lengthy drought which had been causing major problems in the region. But this was not their first cloud “seeding” outing. They’d also been at their work in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics.

What is interesting about all this is that these Chinese scientists messing around with “weather modification” appear to attract less censure from the global warming fraternity than a pizza box in the wrong recycling receptacle.

If it is eco acceptable to make it snow in Beijing, how come Bono et al don’t arrange for a truck load of this cloud seeding stuff to be diverted to that beleaguered polar bear we’re always hearing about in the Arctic?

And another question which didn’t make it into those reports majoring on the winter wonderland cutesiness of it all

How safe is this cloud tinkering process anyway?

What goes up must come down — not just in the standard water, cloud, precipitation cycle with which we’re all familiar.

But presumably also in terms of what the Chinese are now shooting into the stratosphere.

That isn’t just snow falling on Beijing. It’s chemical-laced snow.

A sharp wind from the East and it could be headed our way too. It is climate rearranging on a momentous scale and it fairly puts into perspective all that sorting the cardboard from the paper and making sure a squashed up Coke bottle doesn’t go in with the household waste.

On one side of the world we’re obsessing about how poor bin management may contribute to unstable weather.

On they other side they’re nuking the heavens when they feel the need of a wet weekend.

The whole crux of global warming strategy is surely the global bit. We’re all supposed to be in this together.

How long before other nations envious of Chinese made-to-measure snowfalls get out their own weather modification kits and let rip into the atmosphere too? (Are they doing it already?)

On a local individual level we’re constantly being warned that leaving the laptop on standby is environmentally reckless and if the British Isles end up as one big duck pond it will be entirely our fault.

Yet on a global scale nobody seems to be batting an eyelid at nations customising the world’s weather patterns to their own requirements.

How many Chinese scientists does it take to change an eco friendly bulb?

None.

They just blast away the cloud cover and let the sun shine in.

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