Western states use cloud seeding to address severe drought
Many Western states are grappling with the reality of an endless drought, which is jeopardizing regional drinking supplies and agricultural systems. According to recent reports from the U.S. Drought Monitor, 40 percent of the West is classified as being in “exceptional drought,” the most extreme out of four levels. Some areas are now attempting to increase rainfall through a process called “cloud seeding.” This requires aircraft to disperse small particles of silver iodide into the clouds. Water droplets then cluster around the particles, modifying cloud structure and increasing the chance of precipitation, The Guardian reported. Although cloud seeding experiments have occurred since the 1940s, it wasn’t until recently that researchers became confident in its effectiveness. The process doesn’t address systemic causes of drought—it’s merely one tool in a larger adaptation plan for a changing climate.