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Cloud seeding at the wrong time

Trans. by M.OYUNGEREL

“Most of Mongolia is in a drought. We haven’t seen one this harsh in many years. We are bound to lose most of our crops, and flour and pastry prices are going to go through the roof. If it doesn’t rain in May or June, rain in July and August is of no help,” some farmers told news agencies, desperately in need of attention.
Mongolia planned to spend 123 million MNT on 400 rockets used for cloud seeding this year. Due to the drought, an additional 177 million MNT was granted from the government, which is enough to buy 1,000 rockets. Every year, about 200 to 300 rockets are stored in the state storage for wildfires and in emergency situations in non-agricultural areas.
Cloud seeding is when you insert a substance in the tip of a tiny rocket and shoot it into the clouds. The substance helps infuse water droplets, making them heavier and readier to fall as rain. Depending on the mass and humidity of clouds, specialists decide on how many rockets should be used and where.
“You can’t really calculate how much cloud seeding can cost at one time. It’s very ambiguous. Because cloud seeding depends greatly on the weather, we can’t just say it’s going to take two to five rockets. But on average, we use about three to five rockets to make it rain once,” says D.Bat-Ulzii, general manager of climatology expeditions at the Weather, Information and Research Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Environment (WIRIMHE).
Mongolia ran out of rockets this year, so the weather specialists left for China after they got permission for rocket entry. The rockets will arrive in UB by the end of next week. No rocket for cloud seeding has been bought since 2013. Although they should be purchased every year, the state couldn’t make any purchases in 2014 as China couldn’t import rockets.
Mongolia is dependent on China for rockets, as the land, weather, and clouds in China are almost identical to ours. Other countries are not as good a match. To keep seeding clouds, the state was frugal in using the remaining smaller rockets.
For laws concerning weather research, a designated weather corporation is supposed to do the cloud seeding. Therefore, no entities and private corporations get involved in this process. In any country, every operation that includes explosives should be done under the guidance of the state; in other words, with permission.
The President of Mongolia ordered the authorities of WIRIMHE to make it rain before the National Naadam Festival, so they seeded clouds in some soums of Tuv Province and at Khui Doloon Khudag. East of Selenge Province, areas received 52 millimeters of precipitation and two to three wildfires were put out.
The National Emergency Management Agency complains that when there’s a wildfire, the state pays attention to agricultural areas and not the wildfires. Farmers say the state is busy putting out wildfires and not caring about crops.
For the wheat to seed, the soil should be damp. Farmers claim that if cloud seeding had taken place in May and June, farmers wouldn’t have lost their crops, but WIRIMHE can’t decide to make it rain on their own. The office that is responsible for this policy should have taken care of it in advance and done their jobs. For example, instead of farmers stating that they’d lose crops if there was no rain before July 3rd, they should have told the corporation many months in advance, so research could be conducted to determine a suitable course of action.
Because the farmers lost about 80 percent of their crops, there’s little to no harvest. It also means they won’t have many seeds for next year. Both the companies and the state are in debt and facing a lack of seeds.
Some farmers are enraged, as they have mortgaged their homes and cars to plant crops. Associated organizations and corporations must calculate these things, come up with solutions and policy in advance, and work in unison.
Since the harvest is nowhere near the planned outcome, we will need to import a number of agricultural products. However, the situation for our northern and southern neighbors have not been pleasant either. Who knows how much they will sell their wheat for, since they are facing shortages too.
There was not much precipitation in the winter, or in the summer, and this issue should not have been ignored by officials. If only the weather specialists had decided to seed clouds and make it rain, the country wouldn’t have lost so much money and wouldn’t be facing price inflation. Mongolia is badly in need of a more responsible system.

Source: Unuudur daily, Ikon.mn

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=15518

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