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  • Snow making - cloud seeding

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    Last edited by freeheelskier; 23 September 2014, 08:29 AM.

  • #2
    I'm pretty dead set against it. I took Snow Hydrology from a guy at CU who is well respected, Mark Wilson, and though I'm not a snow scientist I did pick up a few things. He, at the time, thought seeding was useless.

    Mostly he seemed to cite that it appeared that a very small percentage of artificially ensiminated clouds dropped their water. He also said we get more than enough seed from basin dust in the air already. We already futz with the hydrologic cycle in a very meaningful way. And it's a lot of money to spend on something with 0 proven results.

    Seems silly to seed, IMHO.

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    • #3
      I'm with climbhoser. Messin' with the weather is not our domain. We really don't know what all the ramifications are. Who's to say that two weak winters in a row aren't from climate change, but trying to change the climate. It's just another way man tries to control everything instead of learning how to deal with it.

      ain't no turn like tele!

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      • #4
        . .
        Last edited by freeheelskier; 23 September 2014, 08:30 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by freeheelskier View Post
          We have a dozen seeding generators in the area. While I agree with ch and dots on the don't go f'ing w/ma nature view towards it, the local side country powder crew...and myself included...are always pretty happy to have the powder dump from a favorable flow possibly enhanced by the seeders.

          When you look at the paleo-tech they were using back in the B.o.R. film from '81 to get and crunch data, it looks like they were pretty much just pissin' in the wind and hoping for the best back in the day. The data they are able to acquire and crunch these days should answer the question of seeding's effectiveness more definitively. According the info in the link to the Colorado agency in charge of the project, it looks like full steam ahead with weather modification efforts.

          I'd settle for turning off all the generators except maybe just for the local ones just in case they are adding a few inches to a powder day.
          Coupla things:

          1. Data. There really isn't robust data backing up cloud-seeding. First of all, they almost never find any silver iodide in the snowpack. Well, I take it back...they do, but never enough to provide meaningful feedback that it influenced anything. There's also very little rigor involved in the science of cloud seeding. They're basically sending a hexagonal nucleating agent up that has the least enviro repurcussions and assuming it works. There is really no better nucleating agent than dust, and we have more dust in the air coming out of the basin than ever before. I doubt that seeding even makes a dent. It's a huge industry over there, though, and worth millions of dollars. Local pilots sure don't want anyone thinking what they do is worthless. Water providers like Ute, Clifton, GJ don't like spending money on it, but it's easier to get approval for than another storage expansion, which requires the dreaded NEPA process (2 decades of planning, minimum?)

          2. Futzing with ma nature...it's an inevitability. I don't subscribe to the "hands off" POV at all, actually. I think environmentalism is a dirty word that breeds a dualistic perspective (humans VS. nature). When did we somehow separate from nature?

          What I do prescribe, however, as much as I can as a pontificating agent with a laptop and an armchair, is being very careful in how we do what we do. Everything has an effect, local and/or global, and I am a big fan of using science to get a grasp on what the effect of an action is. Knowledge is power, in that sense, and I think engineers are today's most powerful people for this reason.

          But, when it comes to water and the hydrologic cycle I think we know jack shiz. Pissin' in the wind is an overstatement! The long-held belief is to store in times of plenty for times of need, and so we have dammed up major acre feet of water that are no longer part of the hydrologic cycle. If you didn't know before, water is a requirement for life as we understand it. It is always moving within the cycle from one spot to another, and the more we hold back the less there is down-stream for other biological entities to depend upon.

          To take it a step further, life itself is a major reservoir of water. It resides in all life on the planet, so we threaten bio-diversity by growing our population and holding water back from other bio-regions. An argument is to be made that reservoirs would support MORE bio-diversity to make up for the downstream lack, but I think it's patently absurd.

          No, this is high level theoretic, and it's pretty hard to make a case that we're seeing this outcome in a major fashion, yet...but yet is right around the corner. The issues have already begun, and it's like we have been hitting the universe's biggest hornets nest for eons and they're finally pissed. How bad will it be? I think that's beyond us, but it makes me think cloud seeding is beyond stupid...as much because it's worthless as because it's fuel on the fire. Is it fuel on the fire? Maybe droplets of leftover kerosene...but it IS stupid and value-less. A waste of time, mental effort, resources, etc...

          Anyway, /rant. I can't even remember what I wanted to express well enough to know if I did it or not at this point, so enjoy!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by climbhoser View Post
            First of all, they almost never find any silver iodide in the snowpack. Well, I take it back...they do, but never enough to provide meaningful feedback that it influenced anything. * * * There is really no better nucleating agent than dust, and we have more dust in the air coming out of the basin than ever before. I doubt that seeding even makes a dent.
            These points seem to be the best reasons I've heard that it doesn't work. Weird synchronicity today- was having a discussion in a beer forum on *avoiding* nucleating agents in a beer glass to avoid over-foaming certain beers . . .
            Reluctant enthusiast, part-time crusader, half-hearted fanatic

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            • #7
              Best friend does is PG&E's hydro guy for the Shasta-Pitt project. They seed up there. As I recall, their research indicates that it does help--but not much.

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              • #8
                my understanding is that the argument in california is that there is not much reliable data that supports to not cloud seed... reason being that cloud seeding has occurred for many years in the sierra that there is not a good baseline line under a no cloudseeding regime.... make sense?

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                • #9
                  Seems pretty obvious that there is no real way to get a baseline with such natural variability. In the Sierra we can get anywhere from 200-800 inches in a season. The only way I understand to get an idea if seeding is working is to compare data of seeded area with adjacent area not in the path of the seed plume. There again accounting for variations in microclimates seems pretty tricky.

                  An obvious potential harm is the addition of toxic silver iodide into the environment. I have been told by a cloud seeding scientist that given hurricane force winds off of the ridges and summits that the stuff is released, with the amount of chemical compared to the large area covered the effect is beyond negligble.

                  I can't say I'm against it, but I used to be OK with water flouridization too.
                  Last edited by revloren; 29 August 2013, 10:20 AM.

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                  • #10
                    i'm not necessarily endorsing it; i don't know enough to have an educated opinion. it's the oldest form of climate engineering/geoengineering that i know of. here's the 2005 CA water plan chapter on cloud seeding, http://www.waterplan.water.ca.gov/do...ol2/v2ch14.pdf. it's short and easy to read.

                    some highlights i quickly picked-up:
                    -first started in CA in 1948
                    -applied by airplane or from the ground (last year i came across the RFP for SMUD precip enhancement for last winter. $200k for a certain # of applications via airplane)
                    -check-out the "Benefits from Precipitation Enhancement" section
                    -13 different programs in 2002/2003
                    -there's a section about environmental impact, with what appears to be relatively old studies. i'm not sure if there's evidence that these conclusions are inaccurate after 30+ more years of study.
                    -it's pretty clear about working with CO to increase precip in CO to allow for an increase in CO River runoff.
                    Last edited by thornton; 29 August 2013, 02:40 PM.

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                    • #11
                      bump.

                      recent article in the sacramento bee, http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/11/589...r-magical.html

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