The Drone Sows Rain

The recent experiment conducted in the skies of Nevada by scientists at the Desert Research Institute could rekindle one of the most controversial conspiracyists and lovers of the intrigue: the one on chemical trails.

Researchers led by Amber Broch have for the first time used a drone to “sow clouds,” and then modify the weather (at least potentially) above the Hawthorne resort in the desert.

The chemistry of rain. The aircraft, about 3 metres of wingspan, flew for 18 minutes spreading in the air of silver: this substance, in theory, should trigger in the atmosphere a series of chemical reactions that favor the condensation of water vapor and therefore the formation of clouds

The validity of this theory is still to be demonstrated even if the cloud seeking (literally…the seeding of new ones), carried out with special aircraft, seems to be successfully used by several countries for some years already.

In 2008, for example, the Chinese applied this technique to rain before the Olympic ceremonies and the Beijing Olympic Games, so as to avoid the public and the inappropriate athletes.

12 PHOTOS Photogallery The colors of the salt pans of San Francisco GO TO THE GALLERY

Photogallery The colors of the salt pans of San Francisco The aerial photos allow you to capture, in a single glance, colors and geometric motifs of landscapes as vast as desolate and deserted. Many photographers make them from the window of a helicopter; others opt for an ultralight, or a drone. Cris Benton, the author of these photos, has chosen an innovative solution. Photo: © Cris Benton Benton has fixed a radio camera to a kite, to observe from an unprecedented perspective the vibrant shades of the salty swamps of San Francisco, the subject of these photos. Foto: © Cris Benton The South Bay salt ponds are artificial salt lakes located in the southern part of San Francisco Bay, and created for the extraction of salt from sea water. Foto: © Cris Benton Adv The unprecedented means of transport led the camera up to more than 90 meters of height, allowing you to catch the intense yellow, green and magenta shades of the swamps. Foto: © Cris Benton The microorganisms that populate the inhospitable environment of the salty lakes give these unusual and brilliant colors to these waters, which, seen from above, make the landscape even more spectacular. Foto: © Cris Benton During the transformation process, sea water is conveyed to these artificial tanks where it is exposed to natural evaporation. As the liquid evaporates, the concentration of salt increases. Foto: © Cris Benton Adv During this cycle, the saltier water is moved from a bathtub to a bathtub, in a period that can last up to five years. Foto: © Cris Benton At the end of the long process, the salt deposited is ready to be extracted. Benton’s immortalized scenery is among the most diverse: it ranges from deeper water stretches, to lower marshes, to muddy or encrusted expanses. Foto: © Cris Benton In all, six thousand hectares of swamps, which the photographer has managed to capture with a relatively simple and economical instrument. Foto: © Cris Benton Adv Now, after more than a century of exploitation of the territory for industrial purposes, an important attempt to recover the territory is underway on this habitat, which will be brought back to its original vocation of extensive natural tidal marsh. Foto: © Cris Benton Around the salty coastal lakes, in fact, many wild species gravitate: migratory birds that come here to mate, molluscs and small mammals, for which the survival of such a characteristic habitat is vital. Foto: © Cris Benton Benton’s photographs were gathered in a photographic book, called Saltscapes, the proceeds of which will be partly donated to the financing of a project to recover this precious territory, the South Bay Salt Po Foto: © Cris Benton Adv Insights Science Rain Cannons Ecology All ready for the first flight around the world powered by solar energy Science Airship at the Space Pole The seas of Titan recreated in the laboratory

Climate control. During the Nevada test the drone reached a height of only 130 meters, not enough to change the climatic conditions, but according to researchers has demonstrated the potential of this technology, which could bring in the atmosphere the chemicals necessary for the condensation of clouds at very cost

Definitely optimistic Amber Broch, the project engineer, who told the media that aircraft without pilots offer incredible potential in environmental research activities.

The next step will be to conduct another test in a different location, always above the desert, with the aim of combating the drought that historically afflicts this area of the States.

He who casts seeds into the clouds will bring the sky back to life. It seems like a Chinese proverb, but it is the hypothesis advanced for 2015 by a document of the Chinese meteorological administration: to sow clouds to make rain and thus clean the air from smog that afflicts the Chinese cities. The technique used by the Chinese plans to launch rockets. © Eyevine/Contrasto

Clean air. As mentioned, the’seed of clouds’ has been experimented for decades in several countries: the technique used by the Chinese plans to launch rockets that release silver

China used this technique, for example, to stimulate precipitation after a drought. But above all, it is committed to raining and cleaning the air from the smog that afflicts the Chinese cities.

Not all scientists are convinced that the insemination of clouds works. And critics point out in particular that the effectiveness is doubtful if the objective is smog: it is made of soot particles and dust, which already act as condensation nuclei. If they did not rain, add silver

12 PHOTOS Photogallery The most beautiful photos taken with drones GO TO THE GALLERY

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