Colorado Will Soon Be Seeing More Cloud Seeding – But What is it?
Mother Nature certainly has a mind of her own, which Coloradans can confirm based on the state's unique weather patterns that often occur - remember that time it snowed in June?!
But along with the significant snowstorms that barrel through the Centennial State each year, humans have found a way to make these weather-related events even stronger.
This happens through cloud seeding operations, which are taking place more and more with the assistance of modern technology.
Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique of producing extra snow after precipitation is already occurring. The efficient process involves machines spraying tiny crystals of silver iodide into the atmosphere, which improves a cloud’s ability to make rain or snow. The new ice crystals provide a base for snowflakes to form and help create more condensation.
After cloud seeding is carried out, newly formed snowflakes quickly grow and fall from the clouds back to Earth's surface. This process requires the presence of moisture-filled clouds and cannot be done during a dry winter. However, silver iodide is able to produce snowflakes at warmer temperatures than it takes for water crystals to create snow.
Some might wonder if cloud seeding steals precipitation from an existing storm, but meteorologists have claimed that not to be the case. In reality, the action boosts winter snowpack, which is especially helpful for droughts and the ongoing water crisis in the western United States.
Silver iodide has been proven to be effective, safe, and easy to work with. Additionally, its increased use has no negative impacts on wildlife or the environment.
This weather-modifying method has been gaining momentum across the country. Nevada has been doing it near the Colorado River for quite a while now, and Wyoming has reported a steady rise in snowpack from using this technique over time. Cloud seeding operations have also already been happening along Colorado's upper Gunnison River too. And, this winter, one of the first of this type of system will be making its way to the Front Range.
The new operation will be set up along the St. Vrain River west of Longmont. The goal of targeting this Boulder County location is to produce ten percent more snowpack in the river's headwaters.