Technology

Say Nyet to Snow! Moscow Mayor Plans to Engineer the Weather

DiscoblogBy Brett IsraelDec 8, 2009 5:20 PM
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Since World War II, Russian scientists have been researching ways to bend the weather to their liking. Today, they routinely ensure sun-splashed Victory Day celebrations by chasing away clouds using a technology known as cloud seeding (the same technology the Chinese government used to chase away clouds during the Beijing summer Olympics). It's nice to have sunny parades, but Moscow officials believe they can use their technology to alter the weather and save some rubles, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Now they're poised to battle the most inevitable and emblematic force of Russian winter: the snow. Moscow's government, led by powerful and long-reigning Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, has indicated that clearing the capital's streets of snow is simply too expensive. Instead, officials are weighing a plan to seed the clouds with liquid nitrogen or dry ice to keep heavy snow from falling inside the city limits.

Luzhkov says the city can save more than $13 million with cloud seeding. No snow means no snow plows and no workers driving the plows. Moscow officials say they are in deep discussion to move their plan forward. Of course, some scientists are skeptical since the environmental effects of the snow-ban plan are largely unstudied. People that live in surrounding towns are raising their hands to ask questions as well, since many believe they will receive the brunt of the displaced snowfall. Aside from the unknowns, the cloud seeding technology can be physically dangerous. In the past clouds were seeded with cement that is dropped from an aircraft to dissolve the clouds. However, in at least one instance things didn't go as planned and a clump of cement crashed through the roof of house on the outskirts of Moscow. Related Content: Discoblog: Hugo Chavez: “Any Cloud That Crosses Me, I’ll Zap It So That It Rains” Discoblog: Weird Tube-Shaped Clouds Floating Above Australia DISCOVER: Harnessing the Weather

Image: flickr / SergeyRod

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