Researching the Effects of Cloud Seeding
I’m tired! I’m tired of watching storms come into Bowman County heading for the New England area only to watch the cloud modification project fly the clouds and watch them disappear. The Bowman radar on the water commission website clearly shows their flight path and the storm dissipating shortly after they start flying. Am I the only one who can see this?
After farmers in Bowman County unsuccessfully tried to stop the project I decided to look deeper into the effects of their cloud modification. I remember years ago getting most of our summer rain from thunderstorms from the southwest. That doesn’t happen anymore.
I talked to the state climatologist and he sent me rainfall data for 136 locations going back to 1930, even earlier for some locations. I also read through the four studies on rainfall evaluations the state water commission touts on their website. After reading the studies and finding many holes in their data which they admit “has yielded no significant effect” or “if seeding primarily for rain enhancement within this project has had any effect it has escaped this analysis”. There is not enough room in this letter to show all the holes in their studies.
I did however take the data to Bismarck and testify at the legislative committee on the water commission budget. With the rainfall data I compared New England’s rainfall (which is downwind of the target area) and Marmarth which is only five miles from the border so any cloud seeding would not effect them. I also included Beach in my comparison, as they would not be affected by any target or downwind seeding. What the data showed was in the 30 years prior to cloud seeding(1930-1960) the 30-year average rainfall for New England averaged over 2 inches more precip than Marmarth or Beach. In the last 20 years New England has averaged less rainfall than both locations. Marmarth and Beach have picked up nearly an inch in average while New England has lost 1.36”. This happened in a wetter timeframe when the whole state averaged 1.42” of more precipitation.
The committee decided not to fund the project. However in the end the money for the water commis-sion budget was block granted (with a budget cut) giving the water commission discretion on how they spend the money. I recently received a letter from Southwest Water (a division of the state Water Commission) notifying of an increase in rates for those that use over 25,000 gallons. In fact the charge is now double of what it had been. Even though the water commission budget was cut they decided it was more important to fund the weather modification project then to keep water use rates where they were. This is quite a racket: seed the clouds so it doesn’t rain as much forcing people to buy more water and charging double for the water. That should make up for some budget shortfalls. Just think if they could get us to irrigate our crops with their water that would give them enough money to modify the weather for a long time.