Cloud seeding has long been a controversial process, including here in Texas. Now, Dr. Roelof Bruintjes, a research scientist from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, believes he might be able to put an end to the argument.
"[Before], clouds were treated as a black box and basically we measured the rainfall at the ground. If it was more rain, was it due to seeding or not due to seeding,” proposed Bruintjes.
Bruintjes is teaming up with the South Texas Weather Modification Association and the Southwest Texas Rain Enhancement Association, along with others to potentially answer the fundamental question about whether or not cloud seeding is effective. It is new technology that may finally bring the answer.
"New radar technologies, new satellite technology, airborne instruments; we can now quantify all these aspects and the cloud doesn’t become a black box anymore,” said Bruintjes.
Bruintjes’ hope is that he can build interest in a five-year research project right here in South Texas, which he believed was an ideal location to conduct the research. It is a project that could potentially have large implications on weather modification and water conservation globally. Bruintjes presented his ideas on Tuesday to the Edwards Aquifer Authority, who is looking for validation of their cloud seeding operations.
"We're always looking at ways we can improve [validation], to ensure we're putting money where we should,” said Roland Ruiz, with the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority will not be funding the project, but will be following the research closely. The research is not expected to expand cloud seeding operations, but only look to determine if it is effective.