China wants everything to be under control at the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games on 8 August — even the weather. The chance of rain that day is 47%, according to the Beijing Meteorological Bureau. The iconic 91,000-seat main stadium, nicknamed the 'bird's nest' because of its interlacing steel beams, has no roof. So Chinese meteorologists will use weather-modification technologies to try to stop rain from spoiling the party. Beijing's plan for the games is the most conspicuous example of the country's massive weather-modification efforts. Most of the time, the focus is not on keeping things dry, but on making it rain in places that desperately need the water. In ancient times, the Chinese believed that dragons controlled the weather, and elaborate rituals were performed to bring about sufficient rainfall and good harvests. Today, they are turning to technology to change the moods of the sky, part of a national obsession to 'tame nature', as championed by Mao Zedong. China has one of the largest programmes for weather modification in the world. It spends between 400 million yuan (US$60 million) and 700 million yuan a year on it, and employs 32,000 people to operate 35 specially equipped
Nature – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 18, 2008
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