NATURAL SECURITY: Rockets Battling Chinese Drought
The Chinese government is trying to do more than just talk about the weather: firing liquid nitrogen-filled rockets into the sky to mitigate the country’s worst drought in 50 years.
SkyNews reports provincial authorities are using the ground-fired rockets and artillery shells for “weather modification,” hoping to encourage precipitation over the parched Yangtze River basin. More than 500 rockets and 3,300 artillery shells were fired over the weekend, causing only light rain to fall over parts of central China, People’s Daily Online reported.
But the massive drought has stalled shipping on the Yangtze — China’s biggest river — dried up lakes, threatened drinking water supplies and electricity production. It also bodes ill for China’s grain crops, which could prompt Beijing to make large-scale overseas purchases of food — driving up prices worldwide.
Water shortages in China have steadily worsened over the last 10 years, according to the Financial Times, and its water per capita supply is just a quarter of the world average. The drought has threatened drinking water supplies for more than 1 million people. More than 400 million depend on the Yangtze basin for food, water or livelihood.
To see video footage of the truck-launched rockets, click here.