Severe Snowstorm in China Kills 40: Cloud Seeding Involved?

china snowstorm

This story is certainly tragic…and odd (from the AP/MSNBC):

BEIJING – Unusually early snow storms in north-central China have claimed 40 lives, caused thousands of buildings to collapse and destroyed almost 500,000 acres of winter crops, the Civil Affairs Ministry said Friday.

Nineteen of the deaths resulted from traffic accidents related to the storms that began Nov. 9, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

The snowfall is the heaviest in the northern and central provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong and Henan since record keeping began after the establishment of the Communist state in 1949, the ministry said without giving detailed figures. It estimated economic losses from the storm at $659 million.

Chinese state media say some of the snow was induced through cloud seeding, although the precise amount of snowfall in all areas was not reported and it wasn’t clear what the previous records were.

For the whole story, click here.

So the obvious question is: what in the heck is cloud seeding?


In simple terms, it’s the spraying of silver iodide aerosols or dry ice “in the upper levels of the clouds to stimulate the precipitation process”. Of course, seeding is man-made. Someone has to  physically fly a plane over a mass of clouds and spray chemicals into them. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but it can be done.

So why exactly was cloud seeding occurring in China? A little while back I talked about Russia’s Mayor authorizing a spreading of chemicals into the atmosphere to limit the snow in Moscow, but it’s interesting we’re hearing about the reverse happening. Is it smart for man to intentionally manipulate the weather? Maybe those participating in the seeding process think they have control over the weather, but what plays out afterward is all a coincidence? Maybe seeding has no effect at all.

Too many questions here. But it sure sounds fishy that cloud seeding would be involved…


Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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53 thoughts on “Severe Snowstorm in China Kills 40: Cloud Seeding Involved?

  1. When I read about weather manipulation in Europe and Asia, I wonder what the global impacts are, and how it could affect our weather. Is the pacific ocean big enough to negate the impact? I don’t know if anyone knows.

    We do get hit with pollution from China, this article is a couple of years old, but relevant I think.

    Given how interconnected our world is, I find it hard to believe that weather manipulation on one continent wouldn’t impact the rest of the world.


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