June 1st, 2011
12:10 PM ET

China uses missiles to make it rain

How to make it rain. It's a question that's puzzled humans from time immemorial. Native Americans have their traditional rain dance, of course. Some Hindu holy men sit in tubs to ask for rain. And the method in one Mexican village is called the flying rope ritual.

But China, of course, tried a more scientific method this week. It's launching hundreds of missiles into the skies to try to make it rain. It's called "seeding," where they shoot silver iodide into the clouds to induce rainfall.

According to Chinese State TV, the mission worked in the drought-stricken province of Hubei.

I'd go out on a limb and say those traditional methods are probably a little safer even if they are less effective.

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Topics: China • GPS Show • Ideas • Last Look

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. RAJ

    China proved its powr to accumulate weatlh, to develop high technology and now attempting to conquer the nature. When limited human minds tried to play with the unlimited Law of Nature, they have punished by the Nature in other way, sooner or later. Do not they think that forced rain could effect ecological natural cycle and other countries will get less rain because of this attempt ?

    June 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Reply
    • Thatsnotrue:[

      According to a taiwen scinece/current event show, the US had been messing with nature to, since the WWII, trying to control the weather and all that, even had a weather war with Russia ^.^, not sure how true this is but you can check this out yourself just look on Taiwen analyse shows. So China isn't the only one doing this, at least it's to do some good, not to create tornados or tsunamis or floods to kill people in other countries, sort of like nuclear but no one can find out, but you're right, we shouldn't be messing with nature....but there was a dry heat wave or a long drought, if they have the tech then it's time to put all that science into use, if we can predictt nature disasters and have the means to stop it, why not?

      June 1, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Reply
    • Maersk

      You sound like a childish child who tries to teach his parents how to have sex. Why don't you teach your Indian diaper heads not to use their bare hand to clean their azz instead?

      June 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Reply
      • worldpeace

        Hah! You never wash your azz after you sh**t. Don't you just lick each other's islam azz in your paki nation. get the hell out of here.

        June 2, 2011 at 9:16 am |
      • DiaperHead

        What Love got to do with it !!!

        June 2, 2011 at 9:19 am |
      • whatahindu

        worldpeace? really? what makes you think he is a muslim? muslims wash their behinds too you ugly looking hindu. matter of fact we introduced cleaning yo azz to you. punk

        June 2, 2011 at 10:55 am |
      • obamafan

        whatahindu – and you must be a paki troll? . ding, ding, ding!!!.
        Shameless bastards. Why don't you go and clean up your terrorist nation first. You should learn from the acts of the brave journalist who was murdered in pakistan today for trying to clean up his nation from terrorism. Hiding behind fake names and posting useless comments is not going to help your nation which is going down the toilet and is only an act or two away from getting nuked either by the US, Russia or India. you got some enemies around you, man. take care of your 'azz' first. It stinks anway.

        June 2, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • John Denver's ghost

      ....you mean steal high technology..

      June 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
      • Maersk

        I mean your viginity.

        June 2, 2011 at 7:37 am |
      • Maersk

        And your viginity is definitely worth stealing since you're precious and typical American kwok head.

        June 2, 2011 at 7:46 am |
      • marc

        to many people, reading public science journals and purchasing with real money technology that we voluntarily sold to them is called.... stealing

        June 25, 2011 at 2:30 am |
    • JM

      I am not sure why you thinking China has proved its power to accumulate wealth. This technology is decades old, maybe even a century old. the problem is that it pollutes the water and atmosphere. I am sure the Chinese government does care about their people. China is far from advanced techhology. The only technology they have is from stealing it from other countries, mainly the US. This is why you have not seen China invent anything nor see a lot of research investment externally. The world still invests in the US, world invests in using China's cheap labor and dollar. China then profits from heavy taxing and crapping on the citizens. There are a handful of guys up there dictating and controlling 1 billion people. Korea and Japan, are all more advanced than China.

      June 2, 2011 at 12:51 am | Reply
      • Maersk

        You must be one of those poor victims whose viginity have been stolen by the Chinese. How pathetic!

        June 2, 2011 at 7:40 am |
      • SC

        WOW! American xenophobia runs amok! Calm down! You are pretty much brain washed by western media (by that i mean american, not the euro ones) and totally lost the ability to think independently. Innovation means much more than just high-end technology. You might want to read more about this topic before putting out some hate speech. http://www.economist.com/node/15879369
        Complacency and hate doesn't solve the American unemployment problem. Bear that in mind.

        June 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • marc

        anything they do will be called 'stealing' even if its reading public scientific journals and collaborating with our universities and purchasing technology for us at a premium price which we sold voluntarily

        June 25, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • Adnan

      Hoon Thats is Why Indian drink Cow pee to avade any wrath of Mother Nature. Thats Indian Jaleousy with China and nothing else. If it was done by India and reported by CNN it will be another progressing stunt of Indian Science. Any ways that nothing new Pakistan did it i belive in 1980's to get rain in their Thar Desert.

      June 2, 2011 at 8:42 am | Reply
    • Angolan

      It is not safe only because is from China. What the United States is doing undergoing causing tsunamis, earthquakes on other countries we are just learning now, but what the US is doing above, on the even or space, is something we need yet to learn...Mr Zakaria, pls be happy with partial, logica, no-sided US comments. U are black-arabic at all

      June 3, 2011 at 10:43 am | Reply
    • WhatANameRAJ

      RAJ and Fareed, I'm sorry that you are so envious of China and feel the only way to feel better about yourselves is to slam China. China has made great strides in the past 20 years. I can't say the same for India. It is one of the biggest polluters, and there is no end in sight. It blames every terrorist attack on Pakistan. Really, do some real investigation before pointing the finger on another country. This is the same country that is trying to beat China for the most populous country in the world. It can hardly feed itself and accepts handouts from around the world, while they continue to build their nuclear and other military weapons. Really smart people. You people are the biggest back-stabbers in the world.

      June 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • Rob F

      Ski resorts have done this for decades. This isn't ground-breaking technology. It can also be done with CO2. As a global warming control, there is much speculation that "chemtrails" are used globally to create clouds and thus block radiation from entering the troposphere at specific places and times. I've witnessed them personally. It was on a particularly sunny sunday morning in Boston a few years ago. Shortly after seeing these massive, billowy contrails criss-cross in the sky, the weather became thickly overcast in a matter of minutes. It also had a slight purple hue. I'm a senior engineer in research and am also well-educated in metereology and climatology 😉

      June 22, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    What the Chinese are doing is an aggrevation to climate change! If it really rains I can imagine silver iodide would pollute the air and water. Nonsense.

    June 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  3. K. H.

    don't be so cynical, you guys driving cars every single day isn't another way of polluting air? i don't know if silver iodide produces carbon dioxide but i know gasoline will.

    June 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  4. Anant Susarla

    You have some imagination-"Hindu holy men sitting in tubs for rain!". Let me tell you this practice in China is not new.Chinese everywhere have been doing it-even those in Singapore.It's only because of the drought that has affected 10 million Chinese, besides the American obsession with anything and everything Chinese, that you have brought this into the spotlight.They used similar missiles to shoo away rain clouds on the eve of the opening ceremony for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.Chinese have been wreaking havoc with nature for a while and it certainly looks like it is the beginning of nature's payback.

    June 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • Maersk

      "They used similar missiles to shoo away rain clouds on the eve of the opening ceremony for the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.Chinese have been wreaking havoc with nature for a while and it certainly looks like it is the beginning of nature's payback."

      If you are talking about karma, the Indians definitely got it, just take a good look at their corrupt officials and the lousy infrastruture they built for the Common Wealth Games last year.

      June 1, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
      • worldpeace

        well atleast we have got something to show the world – like beating the likes of brits to get 2nd position in CW games (despite corruption being a big distraction to the games), success of Chandrayan, numerous indigineously built nuclear powered submarines, country with the 2nd highest number of high tech graduates, our current GDP growth will put us as the 2nd wealthiest nation in a couple of decades, reigning world champs in cricket, reigning world champs in doubles tennis – I can go on and on. But, since your paki attention span is less, you may not be able to follow. So, I'll stop here.

        let's talk about what pakistan had to show this world – you do have the world record in being the country the world hates the most, proud supporter of LeT, AQ, Pakistani Taliban, most of the country's puny GDP comes from poppy and marijuna dealers, gets the ass kicked by india in all cricket world cups.. Again, small attention span. so, I'll stop

        June 2, 2011 at 9:29 am |
      • Adnan

        World Peace. India is also the country of worlds poor. India has more poor, malnaurished people thean whole continent of Africa have. India made nothing but the big reports and talks. They were trying to make their own jet THE LCA since 1970 and still making it. Look at th China you guys almost have the same time lines and polulation. I am amazed with the Per Capita talent of Chinese compare to their Indian neighbours.

        June 2, 2011 at 10:41 am |
      • worldpeace

        Adnan – no one is denying india has poor but, think about a country that was robbed, kicked in the groin, murdered, plundered by the Brits for centuries before we got independence. We had to crawl from dust to where we are today. Remember, India is a country of 100 crore (1 bill) people and all the social injustices that have been caused by years of suppression will not end overnight. The good news is the past 2 generations have focussed a lot on education which has what caused this positive transformation. And, it is only going to continue. China on the other hand had been independent (although still under a non-democratic rule). So, comparing China to India is like comparing apples to oranges. And BTW, the LCA you were referring to (which is known as Tejas in India) started in 1990s and due to funding crisis, the project had not taken off at a rapid pace but after the boom in the past decade, more funding was allocated to this mission and the HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) successfully completed the fourth production aircraft in late 2010. IAF and Indian navy had recently placed a billion dollar worth of orders to HAL for this aircraft.

        June 2, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  5. john

    they do it in malaysia every now and then

    June 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  6. Tessa

    So does silver iodide cause carbon dioxide? Are there facts to support the claim that rain produced by this method means less rain somewhere else?

    June 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • Lucsoren

      Well, that's a good thing, because when there is a drought somewhere it always means somewhere else is getting too much rain. Take, for example, what is happening right now in U.S.A.: Texas is experiencing the worst drought in its recorded history, while the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys are experiencing the most flooding in their recorded histories.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Reply
      • iamnotaneoconidiot

        Not really the cause though. The Mississippi flooding is caused by snowmelt that accumulated all winter way up north at the Miss headwaters. BTW, the silver iodide thing is something the US used way back in the 1970s. Its not new. The Chinese method is new (and disturbing). The US dropped Silver Iodide from planes.

        June 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  7. Ramiel


    The page has all the info, and it was not invented by the Chinese...

    June 1, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
    • Maersk

      I bet this page must have been invented by some Indian diaper heads.

      June 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Reply
      • Get Real

        You seem to be obsessed with diapers. You must be a shit head.

        June 1, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
      • CoolIT

        he must be fond of licking shit out of diapers. Idiots do not grow on trees...

        June 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  8. Shoaib

    Technologically China asserting itself again and being consistent with improving domestically, but might be another domain for the great regimes to consider another like "Kyoto Protocols"...

    June 1, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  9. Jay

    Hey Raj u r wrong. Seeding clouds has been going on for ages and good luck to China.

    June 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  10. solarenergy

    Whatever, providing it is not to polute the evironment or damaging the planet, Ok, it is necessary to apply when in serious cases. Please take care of our EARTH.

    June 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Reply
  11. Doyle Wiley, MI

    The United States has been involved in cloud seeding since the 1940's, nothing new here.

    June 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  12. Gethetruth

    When China farts, America Sneezes (God Bless America !) . Cloud seeding is normally done using a plane to broadcast the silver iodide. The drought in China is caused by air pollution there, the particulates in the atmosphere gathers moisture over land there but forms clouds over the cooler Pacific, these clouds get blown away to the US and that is why there is excess rain in some parts of the US; as seen recently. China's polluted air gets to the US west coast on a daily basis, that is why you see beautiful sunsets. It air pollution that causes the reddish clouds during sunsets.

    Don't get excited about these missiles, remember they invented the fire works. I think they should be using planes, but they probably have a good reason to use missiles. But being Americans, we have to think that everyone else is dumb!.

    June 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Reply
    • FreqeC

      When the sun is directly overhead, the sunlight has to only pass through a few miles worth of thick atmosphere. But when the sun is close to the horizon (at sunrise or sunset) the light goes a much longer distance through the atmosphere. This causes attenuation of the shorter wavelengths (blue – this is why the sky is blue at other times of the day) leaving only the longer wavelengths like orange and red to reach us. Having clouds in
      the sky and a variety of other atmospheric effects also contributes to the play of colors.

      June 2, 2011 at 8:38 am | Reply
  13. twitch

    EVERYONE!!! I have an announcement. stop eating semen. dir-tay pickle munchers

    June 2, 2011 at 12:20 am | Reply
  14. DiaperHead

    If china really want rain or India for that matter if all of them some 2.5 Billion people Piss all at the same time the rivers & cannals will over flow with water. Sorry just an idiea if you like it mail me a 2 cent check.

    June 2, 2011 at 9:28 am | Reply
    • Qaisar Nawaz

      yes! china can help india make new dam with this new technology thanks to Professor DiaperHead's discovery !!

      June 2, 2011 at 10:22 am | Reply
      • CoolIT

        but China has very close ties with Pakistan, so they will probably piss in Pakis river and cannals!

        June 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  15. Harald

    The Weather Wars will begin!

    June 2, 2011 at 10:41 am | Reply
  16. alegra

    A nice provocation to have aloud such shrieks, which were very predictable!

    June 4, 2011 at 4:01 am | Reply
  17. Ai

    I hope this is serious.

    June 6, 2011 at 11:11 am | Reply
  18. Moudo

    Cloud seeding has been around for years. Airplanes fly into clouds drop Silver Iodine and you have rain or not. Sometimes the results are more then you want. That's how Mother Nature works. Parts of China are 6 ft under water now.

    June 22, 2011 at 7:07 am | Reply
  19. chengxiwen

    China is a develeping country, Although she have been develeping 30 years from 1949 . opening and reform

    June 25, 2011 at 9:10 am | Reply
  20. google promotioon

    Thanks in advance and good luck, globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com ! 🙂

    January 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
  21. tsaiingwen fan

    These people and their commentary...

    January 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Reply

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