Sunday, June 26, 2005

Special unit of Russian aviation uses cement particles and acids to change weather

Specialists, who study the influence of changing weather on the natural environment and people's health, have a different attitude to man's interference in the Earth's atmosphere. Moscow authorities often order sunny weather on important days, when the city holds important holidays or international summits. A group of airplanes disperses clouds above Moscow to guarantee sunshine when the black sky is not desirable at all. Ecologists say, however, that such interventions bring more bad than good. They result in the fall-out of harmful chemicals and affect weather conditions not only on the required territory, but on its outskirts too. Such an influence usually lasts for quite a long period of time.

The so-called weather unit of the Moscow aviation uses iodic silver, frozen carbon dioxide, cement and liquid nitrogen in its weather activities. Doctor of chemical sciences, Lev Fyodorov, said that the weather-changing group of airplanes was used in Moscow during the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Victory over Nazim on May 9th, and on June 12, Russia's Day. "The entire operation has only one goal - to make a cloud rain. Rain will definitely occur, sooner or later, although people often wish to have it sooner. When airplanes fly above the clouds, they drop hard particles in the center of cloudiness. The particles attract water and it starts raining. The chemicals simply speed up the process," the specialist said.

Carbonic acid snow, or dry ice, is a form of carbonic acid, an inseparable constituent of the planet's atmosphere. Nitrogen is present in the air too: small portions of chemical reagents cannot change the gas structure of the atmosphere. The amount of cement, which is also used in cloud-dispersing reagents, is extremely small in comparison with the dirt that people walk on in streets of a city.

"When parents take their children outdoors, they subject their kids to the harmful influence of car exhausts. The smoke of the exhaust is heavy: it floats along the ground surface and children breathe the emissions in. As a matter of fact, parents do not even think about such a harmful influence. If tiny cement particles fall down on the city with rain, no one will notice it, for it will be equivalent to conventional atmospheric dust," Lev Fyodorov said.

Silver acids were used for similar purposes during the Soviet era, when Stalin or Brezhnev were at power. Silver acids condense moisture and precipitate better, although the method was not used in practice much because of the high cost.

Russian news programs often report about intentions of Moscow or St.Petersburg governments to improve weather on the threshold of an important event. Russian meteorologists say that such practice is used presumably in Russia, whereas weather services of foreign states do not send their aircrafts to bomb rainy clouds with cement and acids.

Lev Fyodorov is certain, however, that Russia is not the only state that uses weather-affecting technologies. The USA fights for sunny weather too, when the US government prefers to clear the sky above Washington, for example. "Rain can ruin holidays in the States too. When Putin or Bush step up on a tribune outdoors, it stops raining, if it was raining, of course," the expert said.

Russian meteorologists were going to change weather for defense purposes decades ago. The Central Committee of the Soviet Union Communist Party issued special decrees on the scientific research of the matter. A special institute for experimental meteorology was established in the city of Obninsk to study the objectives of using weather changes in the national defense system. Nowadays, specialists change weather with the only one goal: to clean the sky to create festive atmosphere in large cities. One may say that the weather in Moscow depends on the financial capacity of a client.


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