In the next five years, the total area covered by artificial rain or snowfall will reach 5.5 million sq km, while over 580,000 sq km (224,000 sq miles) will be covered by hail suppression technologies. The statement added that the program will help with disaster relief, agricultural production, emergency responses to forest and grassland fires, and dealing with unusually high temperatures or droughts.
Though the primary focus of Beijing’s weather modification appears to be domestic, experts have warned there is the potential for impact beyond the country’s borders.
“The scientific evidence and political justification for weather modification is not subject to debate or broad discussion (in China),” the authors wrote. “In addition, the leadership’s propensity for technological intervention in taming different weather systems is rarely challenged by alternative viewpoints.”
“While China has not yet shown signs of ‘unilaterally’ deploying geoengineering projects on the ground, the scale of its weather modification and other massive engineering projects, including mega-dam projects (such as the Three Gorges), suggests China is willing to deploy large-scale geoengineering schemes to tackle the impacts of climate change and achieve its Paris targets.”