Scientists in India want to create rain using a special process. With this they want to tackle the smog in the capital New Delhi. The city of millions is considered the most polluted capital in the world.
Ahead of winter, air quality drops significantly in New Delhi. On Thursday morning the quality was so poor that it was labeled as ‘dangerous’ by the Swiss air quality data company IQAir. At the end of next week, meteorologists expect clouds over New Delhi and scientists want to take advantage of that.
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology want to release precipitation from the clouds through ‘cloud seeding’. They do this by adding enormous amounts of salts, such as crystals of silver iodide, to the clouds. The salts are sprayed into the cloud cover by aircraft.
The big question is whether there will be enough cloud cover to allow it to rain on a large scale. Manindra Agrawal, affiliated with the Indian Institute of Technology, keeps a close eye on things. “We are not expecting such a big cloud that will cover the whole of Delhi, but a few hundred kilometers would be good,” he said.
The government of the megacity of 20 million inhabitants has already closed all schools and halted construction activities. New Delhi has also said it wants to restrict car traffic to control pollution.
Several countries have previously used this method to produce rain, improve air quality and water crops in times of drought. However, in 2021, a plan to seed clouds over the mountains of the US state of New Mexico to increase snowfall was withdrawn after allegations that it would harm people and the environment.
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