China used planes, rockets to prevent wet end of Games
Mon, Aug 25, 2008

BEIJING, CHINA - Meteorologists dispatched eight planes to release rain dispersal chemicals and fired 241 rockets into incoming clouds to ensure a dry Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, state media said Monday.

Rain clouds from the north of China had started to move towards the capital on Sunday afternoon, Guo Hu, head of the Beijing Observatory, was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying.

"We decided to use planes to cover a larger area, along with firing rain dispersal rockets from the ground," said Zhang Qiang, an official at the Beijing Weather Modification Office, according to Xinhua.

Meteorologists also fired more than 1,000 rockets into clouds on August 8 to prevent showers from ruining the opening ceremony -- the biggest-ever operation of its kind by China.

China has long dabbled in rain dispersal and rain-making technology, using a vast array of chemicals to either induce or prevent rainfall.

Scientists have viewed the technology as promising, but acknowledge that no method has been developed to objectively prove that such techniques work.

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