BEIJING, May 21 -- A national command center for
weather modification will be built before 2010 to coordinate the practices of
rainmaking and hail suppression around the country.
China regularly suffers from natural disasters, and its weather-modification operations are the largest in the world.
Thirty of the country's 34 provinces, municipalities,
autonomous regions and special administrative regions and 1,952 of about 2,900
counties have been involved in such operations and they are equipped with 7,113
anti-aircraft guns, 4,991 special rocket launchers and more than 32,300 people,
figures from the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said.
Since 1999, some 250 billion tons of rain have been
created and 470,000 sq km of land have been protected from hail. By 2010, the
volume of artificial rain is expected to reach 50 billion tons a year.
Weather modification is even being used to help
Beijing prevent a downpour forecast for the opening day of the 2008 Olympics.
All weather-modification efforts would be coordinated
by central government with support from provincial, municipal and county
administrations by 2010. A national weather-modification experimental base will
also be launched, it said.
Having a national command center and experimental
base will better protect the country against extreme weather conditions, the
report quoted an unnamed official from the meteorological office as saying.
China is at more risk of being hit this year by
extreme weather, such as drought, floods and typhoons, than at any time over the
past decade because of climate change. Droughts could seriously affect northern
areas, while heavy rainfalls could hit the south, Zheng Guoguang, director of
the CMA, told China Daily last month.
Consideration is also being given to the health and
safety of those involved in modification efforts.
In May last year, the operator of an anti-aircraft
gun in Pengshui County of Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality had his right
arm blown to pieces and a passer-by was shot dead.
The county has four such guns for use in weather
On Friday in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong
Province, a meeting to discuss safety issues was held between officers from two
of China's seven military areas headquartered in Jinan and Nanjing, capital of
East China's Jiangsu Province, and representatives of the North Sea Fleet of the
navy, all of whom are involved in local weather-modification efforts.
(Source: China Daily)