Comment on “Rain dance”



A recent news brief about cloud seeding work being conducted in Cohuila, Mexico, (“Rain Dance,” Eos, July 23, 1996) contained unfounded, off-hand remarks that are a disservice to many scientists and professionals in the cloud physics and weather modification community. The news brief stated that “most previous attempts to catalyze rainfall by cloud seeding have produced inconclusive results, and almost none of the experiments have had a sound scientific basis.” The inconclusive results are primarily statistical; many outstanding scientific results have developed from the 50-year history of research into weather modification.

Also, most of the work that I know about has proceeded on the scientific basis that was developed over the years by the scientific and operational communities, and it is improving with time. It is grossly inaccurate to say that almost none of the experiments have had a sound scientific basis. Improvements in technology are strengthening that scientific basis, and current physical and numerical studies being conducted in many places are improving understanding. (See reviews of the status of weather modification from the American Meteorological Society [1992] and the World Meteorological Organization [1992].)