China is planning a rapid expansion of its weather modification programme to cover an area more than one and a half times the size of India, in a move likely to raise concerns among the country’s neighbours.

The decision, announced by the cabinet on Wednesday night, would increase fivefold the world’s biggest cloud-seeding operation, which already employs an estimated 35,000 people.

For six decades, the communist nation has deployed military aircraft and anti-aircraft guns to lace clouds with silver iodide or liquid nitrogen to thicken water droplets to the point where they fall as snow or rain. The technology has mostly been used at a local level to alleviate droughts or clear skies ahead of major events, such as the 2008 Olympics or last October’s 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

Written by Johnathan Watts

Full report at The Guardian

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