Karnataka government gets ready for cloud-seeding project

Aircraft to take off from B’luru and Hubballi airports from Friday

Published: 17th August 2017 07:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th August 2017 07:40 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: WITH Karnataka hit by consecutive droughts and with the rain playing truant this year too, the state government has decided to resort to artificial methods to ensure enough rainfall.  
The government will take up cloud seeding from August 18, which has been scheduled for the week as good cloud cover is expected throughout the statae.
Two aircraft will be deputed by Hoysala Projects Pvt Ltd, which will implement the project with help from a US-based firm, Weather Modification Inc.

Speaking to Express, Prakash Kumar, Chief Engineer, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department (RDPR), said the project coverage will ensure that all parts of the state get adequate rainfall. Aircraft will take off from Bengaluru and Hubballi, and cloud seeding will be done based on projections made by the expert group.

“We have to start seeding when the density of clouds is good enough. We can’t predict exactly how the weather will be. The team will have to adapt to the prevailing conditions to ensure success of the project,” Kumar said.

The department had invited a tender for `35 crore for the project that will be taken up over a period of 60 days during the monsoon season.  A recent meeting held with various experts at the National Aerospace Laboratories in the city discussed aspects related to the operation and monitoring of the project, he told Express.

Better data

According to sources, cloud seeding during the ongoing monsoon season will help assess the success of the whole exercise. The results of previous cloud seeding exercises could not be assessed in detail due to a small number of rain gauges.“Now, the state has a wide network of rain gauges that would provide details into the intensity and distribution of artificially induced rainfall,” the source said.

Aircraft arrives

On Monday, an aircraft, which will be used for the project, arrived at Jakkur Air Base and RDPR Minister H K Patil inspected it. During the inspection, it was revealed that a Radar facility that would assess the factors necessary for cloud seeding was at Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra.
Based on the inputs from the Radar centre, decisions will be made on the days when cloud seeding can be taken up.

Recently, the government had said that it recorded the worst spell of monsoon showers in 46 years. Due to weak monsoon, all parts of the state are staring at a marked rain deficit. Among the regions, Malnad -- prime catchment area for major rivers such as Cauvery, Tunga and Bhadra -- has been the worst hit with over 30 per cent deficit rain during the season.
Other parts of the state, South Interior Karnataka, North Interior Karnataka and Coastal regions, have had a deficit rainfall of 29 per cent, 28 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.

Three radars for cloud study

Three Radar systems will be installed to scientifically study cloud formation in different parts of the state. They will be located at  University of Agricultural Sciences, Bengaluru; Shorapur in Yadgir district and Gadag. The process of installing radars at these spots will be completed in two to three days.

How is cloud-seeding done?

Cloud seeding is generally taken up when an absence of adequate moisture in clouds results in reduced rainfall. The seeding technique induces rainfall in such clouds before they scatter away. According to principles of atmospheric sciences, a lack of microparticles in the clouds reduce the rainfall despite the presence of rain-bearing clouds. In such a situation, based on several parameters, such as cloud temperature and others, silver iodide or sodium chloride (salt) microcrystals are dispersed on cumulonimbus clouds. They act as a catalyst causing rainfall.


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