Friday, August 8, 2008

China stops the rain...

Well, maybe China stops the rain... Isn't there a song that has the words "who'll stop the rain" in it? Somehow I don't think the Chinese will succeed in stopping the rain for the Olympics.

I saw a bit on TV a few months ago about the Chinese building an open-air stadium for the Olympics. This is monsoon or the rainy season in China so many thought it was not a very good idea to subject the athletes and crowds to the rain.

However, China decided they would master the rain and stop it from raining over the stadium.

(Can't you just picture an army holding hoses aimed at clouds trying to fill up with so much water that they'll disperse the rain before it hits the stadium? ;-)

I was just talking to a friend about today being 8-8-08, supposedly the luckiest day of the year to the Chinese, thus it is the day they chose to start the Olympics. It reminded me of the story on the rain so I thought I'd wander around and see if I could find out how successful they had been.

My impression from the initial story was that those working on stopping the rain had been told they would succeed, but none of the scientists seemed overly confident when talking to the interviewers.

They have spent a lot of money and time trying to control weather. I can't even begin to imagine how many variables there must be to consider when trying to stop a cloud that is heavy-laden with water from dumping it whenever it wants.

They now have 53,000 working to stop the rain (no, the comma is not in the wrong place, that really is 53 thousand). From the stories I've skimmed, it looks like they may not have succeeded. Does this mean off with their heads? Hmm...

Here's a few stories I found about it with a bit at the end on pollution in China:

March 08 article:
Weather Engineering in China
How the Chinese plan to modify the weather in Beijing during the Olympics, using supercomputers and artillery.
By Mark Williams
To prevent rain over the roofless 91,000-seat Olympic stadium that Beijing natives have nicknamed the Bird's Nest, the city's branch of the national Weather Modification Office--itself a department of the larger China Meteorological Administration--has prepared a three-stage program for the 2008 Olympics this August...

August 8th (today) article in Guardian (UK)
China takes battle to the heavens in search of the sun
It sounds like Star Trek but 53,000 really are employed to change the weather

Cloud Seeding: Changing Weather
Gareth Deighan, Sky News Online
In the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics, China has been firing rockets and cannons into the sky in preparation.

No time to be under a cloud
Hitting every detail, China says it may control tomorrow's weather

(AGI) - Beijing, Aug 8 - Smog and rain threaten today's opening ceremony of the Olympic Games of Beijing 2008. Chinese authorities have done much to fight the pollution, only half the usual number of cars on the road, many plants closed. But the air quality still is at the safety limits. Nevertheless, a few hours from the start of the ceremony the organisation has reassured everybody. Then there is the bad weather...

Rain Likely at Beijing Olympics’ Opening Ceremony
The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) is predicting a 40 percent chance of rain the day of the Olympics’ opening ceremony. The CMA is also warning that hurricanes could interrupt sporting events held in other cities during the Games.

Here's another little tidbit I found in Sky News Online regarding the pollution:

China Pollution Levels
Sky News has been testing the level of air pollution in Beijing ahead of the Olympic Games and comparing it to UK cities. The results are:
333 micrograms per metre cubed
56 μg/m3
42 μg/m3
29 μg/m3
The UK figures are the latest available from Defra.

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