8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Seeding

Cloud seeding or making artificial rain has been applied to many agricultural areas around the world where rain is scarce and badly needed. It is a time-tested way of keeping farmlands to produce crops where an abundant harvest is otherwise difficult or impossible to achieve.

Despite the many years of its existence and continued use, cloud seeding remains a loosely understood concept. We have identified a few advantages and disadvantages of cloud seeding to help us gain a better understanding of this method.

List of Pros of Cloud Seeding

1. Creates Rain
Where rain is badly needed, cloud seeding is perhaps the only way to produce rain. People use silver iodine to induce rain production in areas where there is barely any precipitation. Rain is important for keeping the area hydrated and fertile for growing crops and other plants.

2. Boosts Economy
Where there is rain, there is farm produce. Farms that yield better can help the local economy and feed the people (and even animals). Cloud seeding can greatly improve the living conditions in dry, arid places.

3. Regulates Weather
Cloud seeding in a way, gives us the ability to control the weather condition in a particular area. It does not just make rain, it also regulates water vapor that in turn prevent damages brought by destructive hails and storms.

4. Makes Dry Places More Livable
Local people have an impressive way of adapting to their natural environment. But inhospitable places rarely visited by rain can be inhospitable to tourists and foreigners. Cloud seeding can make such places livable.

List of Cons of Cloud Seeding

1. Requires Potentially Harmful Chemicals
Chemicals used in cloud seeding can potentially damage the environment, especially the plants cloud seeding is intended to protect. There is no substantial study done on the implications of silver iodine to the environment, so there remains the mystery. Silver iodine may cause “iodism,” a type of iodine poisoning where the patient exhibits running nose, headache, skin rash, anemia, and diarrhea, among others.

2. Is Not Foolproof
Cloud seeding requires rainclouds. It cannot work on just any other cloud formations. Also, seeded clouds may actually travel to another location and do not cause precipitation on the intended location. Therefore, it can be argued whether or not cloud seeding is truly effective in producing rain.

3. Costs a Lot
It is very expensive to produce artificial rain. The chemicals have to be delivered to the air via planes, which are hard to come by in places with very minimal income. Poverty-stricken areas suffering drought or famine may need external funding to have cloud seeding.

4. Poses Weather Problems
If not regulated or controlled properly, cloud seeding may cause undesirable if not altogether destructive weather conditions such as flooding, storms, hail risks, etc. Places that naturally do not get much rain or no rain at all usually do not have the infrastructure to handle so much precipitation. With cloud seeding, these areas may become flooded quickly, causing more harm than good.

Cloud seeding requires substantial research for us to know fully its long-term effects on the environment and on the health of every living organism exposed to artificial rain. It has a couple of benefits, but it also poses certain risks, so it is not a perfect solution for precipitation issues.