Beijing’s Weather Modification Office will be using supercomputers, airplanes, and artillery (and probably a bit of voodoo) in an effort to keep it from raining over the roofless 91,000-seat Olympic stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, in the city this summer.
The process involves three stages. First, the region’s weather will be tracked using satellites, planes, radar, and an IBM p575 supercomputer. This massive computing power will be able to model an area of 44,000 square kilometers accurately enough to generate hourly forecasts for each square kilometer.
Then, two aircraft and twenty artillery and rocket-launch sites around the city will shoot and spray silver iodide and dry ice into incoming clouds to flush out their rain before they reach the stadium.
Finally, any rebel clouds that manage to survive this bombardment will be seeded with chemicals to shrink droplets so that the rain won’t fall until the clouds have passed over the stadium.
It looks as if we’ll see whether humans have finally conquered Mother Nature this summer. We do wonder, though, if this rain-preventing business is bad for the environment. [Technology Review]