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Mitch SMith


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The case for cloud-seeding

It is quite evident that most states in the world now conduct cloud seeding.

Cloud seeding is not all that new, in my youth it was common in the apple growing districts to shoot skyrockets above possible hail formations to disrupt the coalsecence of hail stones and reduce their impact on the crops. I believe the active chemical used was silver nitrate.

The more common chemical seen in modern cloud seeding is silver iodide. This nucleates rain drops which then gather electrostatically into cloud.

You will recognise them for their whispy-feathery appearance, which may or may not form into rain clouds - depending on the ambient humidity.

The presence of cloud seeding was first noticed by conspiracy theorists as "chemtrails", agianst which no official refutation was poffered - because no public agreement was sought for the practice.

I can think of some good reasons for cloud seeding - wildfire mittigation, cachement optimisation (water-supply dams) or even mittigation of global warming.

We don't know the justifications because we were not consulted. And the debate was never undertaken.

Let's have the debate now.

To kick it off, i will opose the practice and state as my opening arguement that: cloud seeding is vandalism of the sky.

Please state and argue your case:

For and against.


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    Nov 23 2012: as lincoln allegedly said: three can keep a secret if two are dead. the government often claims to do something when it in fact does not. it rarely accomplishes something in secret.

    here, a local government uses cloud-seeding to protect grape plantations from hailstorms. in china, they increase precipitation in otherwise dry areas. these might be dangerous practices, but this is civilization. we tweak the environment for our benefit.
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      Nov 24 2012: Off topic.

      The debate is about the pros and cons of cloud seeding - not the issue of government secrecy.

      Please try again.
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        Nov 24 2012: i don't care about your intent, i'm not a mind reader. i replied to your statements. i see not a single word about any pros and cons there. next time you try to talk about what you want to talk about. but if you set your attitude aside, you might realize that i listed two cons, and presented a reasoning about possible dangers. so please try again
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          Nov 24 2012: Granted.

          I really am curious about the for and against (pros and cons). And I appreciate your contribution.
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      Nov 24 2012: @Krisztian:

      "we tweak the environment for our benefit."

      Therein lies the very root of our problems.
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        Nov 24 2012: i would say agriculture helped some, for one
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          Nov 24 2012: There's a great deal of difference between tweaking the environment on a local scale and tweaking it globally.

          Mitch's debate is about cloud seeding. Cloud seeding in my opinion is a dangerous form of global 'environmental tweaking'. Siver Iodide is known to be toxic to humans, fish and animals. Also, seeding clouds in one area is bound to cause precipitation deficits downwind in other countries who may also be reliant on that rainfall.

          I'm therefore against cloud seeding for this, and many other reasons.

          What would be your reasons for being in favour?
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        Nov 24 2012: agriculture is hardly "local scale" anymore. it also has its serious effects on nature. but we need to eat, so... same thing for cloud seeding. one needs to scientifically analyze the possible harms. silver might be a toxin, but one needs to examine whether it accumulates at certain locations to cause actual harm to animals or humans. you can not just dismiss it because it is toxic. we got our brains for a reason. we ought to use it to our advantage the best we can, including altering our environment, with care of course.
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          Nov 24 2012: The toxicity of silver iodide, coupled to the indiscriminate nature of the rainfall that occurs as a result of cloud seeding, means that distribution of toxic rainfall might also be as indiscriminate, and do environmental harm.

          Therefore, anything toxic to life needs appropriate containment and control, and must not be attached to anything as randomised as rainfall.
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        Nov 24 2012: might? we need better than that.
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          Nov 24 2012: Might = a word used where there is doubt.

          I was talking about the indiscriminate nature of rainfall, which as you know, is driven by the vagaries of global weather systems (hence 'might'). Such rainfall might or might not fall on environments sensitive to the toxins it contains. I am 100% against taking such risks.

          By the way, you said silver iodide 'might' be a toxin.

          Would you like to change that to IS a toxin?
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        Nov 25 2012: my "might" was a grammatical construct, i did not question the toxicity of silver compounds. my point is that this is not enough, there are many factors to take into consideration. this is the same debate as mercury in vaccines. surely, mercury is a poison. but in that amount, it does no harm. certainly, i would avoid using mercury if i have an alternative. but we need to be realistic.
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          Nov 25 2012: Ok I take your point about the grammatical construct. My point is that I'm reluctant to accept the wisdom of blundering into something that runs the risk of causing irreversible damage to human life and ecosystems.

          The mercury preservative in Thimerosal may not do immediate harm, but mercury is cumulative in the body and can only be removed by chelating compounds.


          Heavy metals (like silver) also are cumulative in the bodies of other animals including those we consume, and clearly it would be impossible to chelate such toxins out of the bodies of fish, for instance, before we eat them.

          In summary, it is the cumulative effects of these metals that causes me concern. Cloud seeding with silver may not be a problem now, but in significant accumulations in the future, it will be.

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