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Drought-stricken Mexico is trying to make it rain by using a controversial method.

The Mexican government is using cloud seeding, a controversial technology, to produce much-needed rain after a severe drought has caused crop losses, a scarcity of water, and rising food costs.

In July, the nation launched its most recent cloud seeding phase in an effort to artificially increase precipitation. For the stated purpose of “combating the effects of drought and contributing to the recharge of aquifers,” the Ministry of Agriculture is focusing on 62 towns located in the country’s north and northeast.

It wasn’t until the 1940s that the practice of “cloud seeding” was developed. Since then, about 50 countries, including the US and China, have adopted it. More than seven decades have passed since Mexico first tried to alter the weather.

Cloud seeding has been proposed as a solution to drought, although many experts are still skeptical about its efficacy.

“It has a controversial history because it’s very difficult to prove what you are doing from a scientific perspective,” Roelef Bruintjes, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the United States who studies weather manipulation, said.

A cloud is necessary for cloud seeding to take place. The probability of precipitation is increased by injecting particles into the cloud using planes or unmanned aerial vehicles.

Because “creating clouds” is impossible, as Bruintjes put it, “the whole idea is not ‘creating clouds.'” But it’s working to get more of the cloud-processed water back to the ground.

In Mexico’s proposal, planes will spray clouds with silver iodide particles. The government is hoping that by encouraging rain, farmers would be better able to weather the current drought.

The national weather service said that by mid-July, more than 40% of Mexico was experiencing either moderate or serious drought. Over the past four months, the country has been baking in a heat wave that has claimed the lives of at least 249 individuals.

As the climate problem worsens, we may expect to see an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events like heat waves and drought.

Mexico claims that their cloud seeding initiative, which began in 2020 and continues today, has been successful. According to government reports from 2021, cloud seeding planes were responsible for an increase in rainfall of 40% beyond what had been predicted by meteorologists.

“Our projects have all been successful,” said a spokeswoman for Startup Renaissance, a rain stimulation business that has worked on the Mexican government project since 2020.

However, many scientists have doubts.

Recently, researchers Fernando Garca Garca and Guillermo Montero Martnez from the cloud physics lab at Mexico’s National Autonomous University claimed that there is a lack of “hard evidence” that cloud seeding boosts precipitation.

And Bruintjes agreed with us. “OK, there is rain,” he remarked, referring to the fact that rain is usually an acceptable response. Is cloud seeding responsible for the precipitation, or not? And that’s the million-dollar query.

The lack of clouds during droughts means that this technology is “not a drought-busting tool,” as Bruintjes put it. That is the one thing we simply can’t do. We can’t conjure up a cloud.

The Mexican government’s Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry declined to comment.

A spokeswoman with Startup Renaissance noted that objections of cloud seeding are based on outmoded technologies. The spokesman went on to say that the company’s technology is superior because it sprays the silver iodide, rather than utilizing the more conventional method of delivering it, which involves the use of flares.

Cloud seeding is an idea that Bruintjes thinks has potential. He claimed there’s proof that programs in the United States to increase snowfall in mountainous regions like Wyoming and Idaho are having an effect. However, he stressed the need for much more study and information.

Some experts have said that we should be giving more thought to innovative, low-cost strategies for safeguarding our water supply.

According to Garcia and Martinez, cloud seeding “should be considered only as one element” of a much larger approach.

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