A project led by scientists of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur was approved by the officials of Environment Ministry that aims to use cloud seeding to make artificial rain and clear smog in Delhi.
An aircraft of the National Remote Sensing Agency, an ISRO-affiliated body, will be used for the trial. It is likely to fly into the clouds and shoot up silver iodide that will help in the formation of ice crystals and make the clouds denser. The chemical compound will also cause them to condense into rain, which will settle the atmospheric dust enough to clear the sky. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) will provide forecasts on the likelihood of conducive clouds.
IMD Director-General K.J. Ramesh told The Hindu, “There is a western disturbance forming in Jammu & Kashmir that will not be enough as we need clouds in the plains. Such seeding is routine in Russia and other cold countries when they need to disperse fog at airports. In this case, we need to create clouds. It is a completely different challenge.”
Cloud seeding used before to address Droughts
While the authorities in Delhi are trying anything and everything to ensure that the quality of air improves in the national city but not many are aware that cloud seeding has been applied across many Indian states before- Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
Tried mainly during summers for decades, the trials were done through the decades not to counter air pollution but to address droughts. In a first, Delhi will use it during the winters as there are hardly any monsoon clouds on the horizon.
For the past four years, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the IMD have been conducting experiments with cloud seeding in Maharashtra during monsoon to examine to check if it really works. In case it does, they will focus on how to evolve guidelines and incorporate it.
Other than providing forecasts, IMD is not involved in any manner with the IIT-Kanpur initiative. “In four years, we have had 30 successful instances of seeding,” Mr. Ramesh added.
According to the report, on Tuesday, Delhi’s Air Quality Index was in the ‘very poor’ category. While a forecast by the IIT-M mentioned that are hardly any chances of improvement in the air quality, but the efforts by IIT-Kanpur may bring some amazing results and help the national city from getting choked by air pollution.