This know-how’s purpose: Make it rain

This know-how’s purpose: Make it rain

Because the western U.S. continues to grapple with drought worsened by local weather change, know-how geared toward making it rain is attracting extra consideration.

What’s generally known as “cloud seeding” is a decades-old apply of spraying particular particles, like silver iodide, into the air to spice up precipitation (with vastly various outcomes). It’s one of many world’s hottest types of climate modification, and it’s practiced throughout a lot of the western U.S,. in addition to in China, Russia, elements of the Center East and different international locations.

However now scientists try a brand new method: electrically charged water particles, write POLITICO’s E&E Information reporters Chelsea Harvey and Corbin Hiar.

Right here’s the way it works: As water droplets condense within the sky, they kind clouds. The underside of these clouds are naturally full of negatively charged water. Hit the cloud with a stream of positively charged water particles and droplets will collide, coalesce and fall from the sky — not less than that’s the idea.

A giant caveat: The jury is out about how nicely the know-how works. That’s as a result of it’s onerous to check. Nonetheless, research counsel that the apply might enhance rainfall by as a lot as 20 p.c. One 2017 research by a College of Colorado researcher in Idaho’s Payette River Basin estimated that clouds seeded over three days produced 286 Olympic-sized swimming swimming pools’ value of snow.

Who’s investing: Whereas cloud seeding is just not a silver bullet, dry areas are more and more turning to the know-how for assist. The Agriculture Division is conducting an ongoing experiment that seeded clouds over Texas final summer season. Final March, a prime Saudi Arabian oil firm obtained a U.S. patent for producing rain to help precipitation in distant desert oil fields, the place water is difficult to come back by. Drillers want water to check wells and improve oil manufacturing.

The United Arab Emirates is one other cloud seeding powerhouse, which is sensible provided that the Center East is heating up sooner than the worldwide common and precipitation is declining. In 2020, China introduced plans to quickly develop its climate modification program to embody an space protecting greater than 2 million sq. miles.

Cloud seeding can marginally improve water provides within the American West, however it has its limits. For one factor, it requires clouds, making it much less helpful throughout droughts.

“If I had been a water supervisor, I might contemplate it,” Katja Friedrich, an atmospheric scientist, instructed Chelsea and Corbin. “However this isn’t the Holy Grail or what actually solves all the issues.”

It is Tuesday — thanks for tuning in to POLITICO’s Energy Swap. I am your host, Arianna Skibell. Energy Swap is dropped at you by the journalists behind E&E Information and POLITICO Power. Ship your suggestions, feedback, inquiries to [email protected]

At this time in POLITICO Power’s podcast: Annie Snider unpacks the difficult politics of the the Colorado River water dispute amongst seven Western states and the way it might mirror future political battles.

We requested. You answered We heard from a lot of you about what you need President Joe Biden to speak about this night throughout his State of the Union tackle. A couple of highlights:

Mike from New Mexico would really like the president to handle the nation’s relationship with China, with an eye fixed towards cooperation on thorny points like local weather change, together with updates on potential negotiations to finish Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

Mohammad from Tennessee is on the lookout for a number of points to be addressed, together with the risks of local weather change, the basis reason for inflation, the housing scarcity, a deal on Social Safety and NASA’s plans to carry folks to the moon. “It is a really feel good story and President Biden loves Nineteen Sixties area tradition,” Mohammad says.

Lithium: Come and get it!
A federal choose in Nevada has upheld the federal authorities’s approval of the most important proposed lithium mine within the nation, writes Hannah Northey.

U.S. District Choose Miranda Du dismissed arguments that the Thacker Cross challenge would degrade close by aquifers, air high quality and habitat for the imperiled larger sage grouse. However she additionally requested the Bureau of Land Administration to revisit a portion of its environmental evaluation.

New York within the sizzling seat
New York is embarking on a crucial 12 months for the implementation of its landmark local weather legislation, which might have a ripple impact on the U.S. vitality sector and set a precedent for different states, writes David Iaconangelo.

The end result might decide whether or not New York turns into the primary state on the East Coast to ban gasoline in new buildings or place a cap on carbon emissions. It might additionally end in insurance policies that change how renewables are constructed and pure gasoline is used within the state.

Russia’s conflict
The EU’s vitality conflict with Russia has entered a brand new section — and there are indicators that the Kremlin is beginning to really feel the ache from quite a few oil bans and value caps, writes Charlie Cooper.

The Kremlin’s tax revenue from oil and gasoline in January was amongst its lowest month-to-month totals for the reason that depths of Covid-19 in 2020.

Lions, tigers and (largely) bears: Carnivores’ assaults on people have gotten extra widespread, and local weather change isn’t serving to.

The nice soften: Hundreds of thousands are in danger from flooding as a result of local weather change — however not the place you’d suppose.

A showcase of a few of our greatest subscriber content material.

A federal appeals courtroom dominated {that a} legislation making Kentucky coal artificially cheaper to the state’s utilities violated constitutional protections.

The Republican Social gathering might quickly get its first main anti-fracking presidential candidate: former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

A pair of fusion vitality researchers leads an inventory of energy- and environment-related company for tonight’s State of the Union speech.

That is it for immediately, of us! Thanks for studying.