Cloud Seeding

Part
01
of six
Part
01

Cloud Seeding Companies, Part 1

SOAR's main field office is at Wichita Falls, Texas. Kyathi Climate Modification Consultants LLP provides consultant solutions in the Bengaluru, Karnataka region of India. The entire project is here.

SOAR

  • SOAR is a group of researchers and operators (research meteorologists, operational meteorologists, weather modification pilots, research pilots, mechanics, and technicians) that conduct sound scientific weather modification research and cloud seeding operations. The group’s fleet, based in Wichita Falls and other locations, is equipped with the latest research-grade instrumentation for cloud physics and aerosol studies.
  • SOAR’s main field office is at Wichita Falls, Texas. The company’s shipping address is 4515 Old Jacksboro Hwy, Wichita Falls, TX 76302. SOAR also has seeding operations in Puerto Rico, Southern Ogallala, Trans-Pecos, and Istanbul.
  • Gary Walker is SOAR’s CEO.
  • SOAR's current strategy involves its fleet of high-performance cloud physics research aircraft that use the latest research-grade instrumentation available for cloud physics and aerosol studies.
  • According to SOAR’s website, the company positions itself in the market as an elite group of researchers and operators with a fleet of high-performance cloud physics research aircraft at its disposal.

Kyathi Climate Modification Consultants

  • Established in 2015, Kyathi Climate Modification Consultants LLP (hereafter “Kyathi”) provides consulting services related to meteorological equipment, tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, and scientific atmospheric solutions. The company also provides state-of-the-art C-band Doppler radar.
  • Kyathi’s primary area of operation is India’s Bengaluru, Karnataka region.
  • Kyathi is a Limited Liability Partnership. The partnership is composed of Prakash Krishnappa Koliwad, Ramesh Hanamantgouda Odugaudar, Arun Govind Karjol, and Poornima Prakash Koliwad. Kyathi’s CEO is Prakash Koliwad.
  • Kyathi’s current strategy involves the use of C-band Doppler radar. The company also has a strong dynamic in the global cloud seeding equipment market, which is projected to grow vibrantly in upcoming years.
  • Kyathi’s market position focuses on being able to provide state-of-the-art Doppler radar.

Research Strategy:

We began our investigation with inquiries into the respective websites of each company, industry databases, and business/industry intelligence sources. While we were able to identify some requested information, we were unable to locate information on key clients of either company nor the owner of SOAR. Though we identified SOAR'S CEO, the caveat is that it required the use of sources older than our designated period for current sources. We include it in this project because nothing more recent contradicts the older source.

Our search for the key clients of each company began with corporate websites. However, we were unable to find the information on either website. Both companies are private, which means neither is legally obligated to provide that information. Our next step was an inquiry into industry databases and business/industry intelligence sources (e.g., PR Newswire, Hoovers, LinkedIn, Bloomberg, and Crunchbase). However, no information about either company was available from these sources.

Our final step was an attempted triangulation based on organizations that utilize cloud seeding and weather modification services. While we were able to identify clients of these services, we were unable to locate any information related to the identified companies.

We employed a similar method when searching for SOAR's owner. We began with the company website, but the information is not present. As we mentioned previously, SOAR is under no obligation to provide that information publicly as a private entity. Our next step was an inquiry into industry databases and business/industry intelligence sources (e.g., ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, Owler, Crunchbase, Manta, UpLead, and Experian). However, no information about SOAR was available from these sources.

We then made inquiries into traditional media sources like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Japan Times. While The Japan Times did highlight the name of SOAR'S CEO, it did not mention the name of the company's owner.

Finally, we attempted a triangulation to ascertain if the CEO and owner are the same using all publicly available information (e.g., case studies, media publications, and press releases). However, this was not possible due to a dearth of publicly available information.
Part
02
of six
Part
02

Cloud Seeding Companies, Part 2

AF Jets is an aviation company providing weather modification services in Malaysia while 3D General Aviation Applications, SA is an aviation company providing weather modification services in Greece and Saudi Arabia. The details of each company have been entered into the attached spreadsheet and outline below.

AF JETS

Company Overview and History

  • AF Jets is a general aviation company providing a variety of aviation-related services, including weather modification/cloud seeding.
  • AF Jets was established in 2006 with a focus on aircraft supplies and parts.
  • In 2010, the company began offering weather modification services.
  • In 2011, they were contracted by the Malaysian government to provide these services in the country in response to severe drought conditions. The public perception of the company's weather modification efforts in Malaysia was negative at first, but turned positive over time.
  • By 2013, there was significant public interest in the artificial rainfall the company was creating in Malaysia from the Malaysian public as well as surrounding countries.

Geography

  • AF Jets provides cloud seeding services in Malaysia.

Owner and C-Suite

Method

  • AF Jets uses the ice crystal method in its weather modification efforts in Malaysia.
  • According to the company, this method "will ignite ice crystal flare in the middle of air, thus causing water to gather at a certain spot and form cloud."
  • This method eliminates the need for harsh chemicals, including silver iodide.

Market Position

  • AF Jets's website notes that its method eliminates the need for harsh chemicals, including silver iodide, which makes their services more positively perceived by the public in the area it serves.
  • The company identifies innovation as one of its values, stating, "We believe in creativity, think out of the box and research on technological processes to create services that distinguish us from other companies."
  • The company also states that it provides the highest possible quality of services to its customers.

Key Customers


3D GENERAL AVIATION APPLICATIONS, SA

Company Overview

  • 3D General Aviation Applications, SA (3D, SA) was founded in 1976 in Greece.
  • The company offers a variety of agricultural and aviation technologies, including weather modification/cloud seeding.
  • The company has been involved in weather modification since 1981 and is a member of the Weather Modification Association. The main goals of the company's weather modification program are to fight drought by increasing rain and snowfall and to protect crops and property from damage caused by hail.
  • The company's earliest weather modification efforts were related to hail mitigation with projects aimed at increasing precipitation beginning in 1994.

Geography

Owner and C-Suite

  • The company is owned by Dimitrios Skepastianos, who is also the President.

Method

  • 3D, SA uses direct penetration in its weather modification efforts. According to the company, this is "the seeding of Silver Iodide (AgI) or dry ice from aircrafts to the target area at the right moment."
  • This process results in the creation of ice crystals, which then become snow or rain.

Market Position

  • 3D, SA presents itself as offering a wide range of aviation services, distinguishing it from other companies.
  • It calls itself "one of the most innovative companies in the world regarding Protection against Adverse Weather Phenomena."
  • It also claims to be one of the 4 most-recognized weather modification companies in the world.

Key Clients

  • Key weather modification clients of 3D, SA include the Agricultural Insurance Organization, Athens Water Company and Project DAPHNE.
Part
03
of six
Part
03

Cloud Seeding Companies, Part 3

NAWC primarily positions itself as one of the longest-standing meteorological consulting company in the US. Mettech S.p.A. considers itself as a specialist in cloud seeding with great expertise in designing cloud seeding programs and call them as Sowing of Clouds. The requested information is provided in rows 3-10, columns G-H of the attached spreadsheet.

North American Weather Consultants

Mettech S.p.A

Research Strategy

Data regarding the key clients of North American Weather Consultants and the owner of Mettech S.p.A. is not available in the public domain. This is mostly due to the fact that both companies are privately held and are not obligated to disclose such information. This can also be due to the competitive nature of the industry and to avoid poaching of clients.

We started our search by looking for the owner of Mettech S.p.A. through its website, blog, media publications, among others. These sources were chosen as they are most likely to highlight such information in their "About Us" section or "Team" section. The Mettech S.p.A. website does not highlight their team, owner, or founder information. We also tried to identify the same by locating their respective annual reports and investor presentation but since the company is privately held, they have not published such reports. We could only identify a team member name on Facebook saying that Alvaro Martinez Rodriguez manages the company but did not quote the designation. Hence, this strategy failed to yield any results.

We later tried to identify the same by scouring through contact Databases like ZoomInfo, LinkedIn, Owler, Crunchbase, Manta, among others as these sources are most likely to highlight the company professionals name and designation. These sources also proved futile as the company profile did not exist among them. Hence, this strategy also failed to deliver the desired results.

Finally, we examined media publications and news articles that might highlight the name while quoting what they said in an interview or during any conference. For this we scoured through the New York Times, El Mercurio de Valparaíso, El Rancagüino, La Prensa and others but could not locate any relevant news on owner.

To identify the key clients of North American Weather Consultants, we started by looking for key clients of North American Weather Consultants through their respective websites, blogs, publications, media publications, among others. These sources were chosen as prima facie as these are most likely to highlight such information. We could only could locate some general insights stating that NAWC clients are of multiple domains such as water districts, universities, hydroelectric utilities, government agencies, and private entities. We also tried to identify the same by locating their respective annual reports and investor presentation but since both companies are privately held companies, they have not published them. Hence, this strategy failed to yield any results.

We then expanded our research to identifying the same from third party sources like Business Wire, PRNewswire, Hoovers, LinkedIn, Bloomberg, Crunchbase among others, but these reports also did not highlight any information on the clientele of NAWC. The companies did not have a profile on Hoovers, LinkedIn, Bloomberg, Crunchbase and Owler. Hence, due to lack of publicly available data, this strategy also failed to yield any fruitful results.

Finally, we later tried to triangulate the information by looking for water districts, universities, hydroelectric utilities, government agencies, and private entities that use cloud seeding/weather modification products such as UASD, Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy, among others but could not locate any insights with respect to NAWC. Hence, this strategy also failed to deliver the desired results.

Part
04
of six
Part
04

Cloud Seeding / Weather Modification Thought Leaders

Five experts and/or industry leaders in the area of weather modification and cloud seeding are Jeff French (United States), Dr. Thara Prabhakaran (India), Michael Manton (Australia), Roelof Bruintjes (United States), and Sufian Farrah (United Arab Emirates). All of these experts believe in the science of weather modification and are actively working to improve the field.

Jeff French

  • Jeff French is an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming who has been publishing papers and research on weather modification and cloud seeding since 1996.
  • In January 2018, French was the lead author of "Precipitation Formation from Orographic Cloud Seeding." The paper reported on research that occurred from January to March 2017 and demonstrated "direct observation of cloud seeding."
  • French was chosen as a thought leader because of the research he is doing on cloud seeding. His first published research on microphysics goes back to 1998, and French as given many presentations on the topic of cloud seeding and the related science. Conferences that he has presented at include the Conference on Cloud Physics, the International Conference on Airborne Research for the Environment, and the International Conference on Clouds and Precipitation.
  • Through his research published in January 2018, it is clear that he believes that cloud seeding is a valid science that needs further research to determine when and how it is most effective.

Dr. Thara Prabhakaran

  • Dr. Thara Prabhakaran is a scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), is an expert in cloud microphysics, and is leading a large experiment in hygroscopic cloud seeding.
  • Details on Prabhakaran's research, awards, and expertise can be found here.
  • Prabhakaran was chosen both because of her expert status in the field of cloud seeding and because she is a member of the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) Expert Team on Weather Modification.
  • The Cloud-Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEEX) that Prabhakaran is leading shows that she is a proponent of cloud seeding and weather modification. One of the goals of the project is to determine when and how cloud seeding is effective.

Michael Manton

  • Michael Manton is an Emeritus Professor, School of Earth Atmosphere and Environment at Monash University in Australia. His areas of interest are air quality, climate observations, and cloud physics.
  • Manton was chosen as a thought leader in cloud seeding/weather modification because of the research he is currently conducting on orographic precipitation, and because he was one of the earliest members of the WMO Expert Team on Weather Modification.
  • Manton's research indicates that he believes in the science of weather modification and is currently working to uncover biases and limitations of the science.

Roelof Bruintjes

  • Roelof Bruintjes is the principal scientist of weather modification programs at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
  • Links to a total of 68 publications/presentations that Bruintjes has been involved in since 1986, can be found on his staff page.
  • Bruintjes was chosen as an industry expert due to his extensive experience in the field of cloud seeding, as well as his position as the chairman of the WMO Expert Team on Weather Modification.
  • His involvement in the weather modification field for over 30 years is a clear indicator that he is a believer in the science of weather modification and is working to continually advance the science of the field.

Sufian Farrah

  • Sufian Farrah is a senior forecaster and cloud seeding expert at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Farrah was chosen as an industry expert due to his position working with the cloud seeding program in the UAE. It was reported that 10-15% of the rain in the UAE in 2018 was due to cloud seeding.
  • Since Farrah is on the front lines of the cloud seeding initiative in the UAE and is reporting on the success of the program, it is clear he is a believer in the science of cloud seeding.
Part
05
of six
Part
05

Cloud Seeding Technology and the Future

Three different applications for which cloud seeding technology is currently being used are increasing precipitation, evaporating fog and clouds, and reducing hail fall. Three different applications for which cloud seeding technology could be used in the future are increasing cloud cover, increasing raindrop size, and turbocharging snowfall.

Applications for Which Cloud Seeding Technology is Currently Being Used

Increasing Precipitation in an Area

  • Silver iodine is used to induce rain production in areas where there is barely any precipitation and rain is needed for keeping the soil hydrated. For example, a field of crops where there hasn't been any natural rain can use cloud seeding to induce precipitation. The primary methods used to increase precipitation are hygroscopic seeding, which affects warm cloud processes and glaciogenic seeding, which initiates cold cloud processes.
  • During warm seasons, cloud seeding is aimed at convective clouds, which is most effectively done from aircraft by dropping the seeding agents directly into the upper regions of the clouds.
  • One example of precipitation induction with cloud seeding is the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where officials used the technology to ensure that it rained before and not on the opening ceremony, as well as to increase favorable weather conditions for the games. China has the biggest ongoing cloud seeding program in the world, spending around $90 million per year to increase rainfall for farming, and help clear the air pollution in major cities.

Evaporating Fog and Clouds to Keep an Area Dry by Precipitating Out

  • Cloud seeding can also be used for the treatment of fog. Supercooled fogs can easily be cleared by glaciogenic seeding, either from the ground or from airborne application.
  • In fog dispersion, cloud seeding allows small drops to evaporate and then condensate on the seeded particles, allowing the liquid and vapor water to disperse onto fewer drops that grow faster and precipitate.
  • For example, the technology is being implemented around the world for clearing fog from airports.

Reducing Hail Fall

  • Cloud seeding can be used to help mitigate hail damage. Since hail is ice produced by convective clouds, glaciogenic seeding techniques can be used to manipulate such clouds. With this technology, excess is induced to freeze into many small particles instead of less large particles. The ice that precipitates melts during its transit through the warm sub-cloud layer, and the one that doesn't precipitate reaches the surface as much smaller, less-damaging, ice.
  • In 2011, the company Western Kansas Groundwater seeded a 6,766 square mile area in Kansas during the months of April through September to prevent hailstorms.
  • The company Weather Modification Inc. is using seeding techniques to decrease the size of hailstones in order to reduce damage to crops and property in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Applications for Which Cloud Seeding Technology Could Be Used in the Future

Increase Cloud Cover Over the Oceans

  • Bill Gates is financing a new project to reduce the heat of the planet by increasing cloud cover over the oceans.
  • The project consists of an unmanned, floating sprayer that could throw sea salt specks into the atmosphere to condense moisture. The technology is based on principles discovered by Anton Flettner.

Increase Raindrop Size

  • German, Swiss, and French researchers are developing a laser technique for increasing raindrop size, which is being tested in Berlin.
  • The laser, which power is greater than 1,000 power plants, is fired into the sky, "reconstituting atoms in the air into components that could seed bigger and better water droplets."

Turbocharging Snowfall

  • After decades of cloud seeding research and experimentation, scientists in Idaho have recently demonstrated that turbocharging snowfall can be possible.
  • Researchers tested with supercooled clouds, with temperatures of 0°C to –15°C. Testing whether this approach is economical is still pending.

Research Strategy:

In order to provide the requested information, we searched through sources written by industry experts. These sources include industry reports from Researchgate, company websites like Weather Modification Inc., and reputable media experts like BBC and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. We then synthesized the experts' information into our findings.
Part
06
of six
Part
06

Cloud Seeding Effectiveness

Many studies have been published on cloud seeding. The most recent ones have used modeling and simulations to determine that silver iodide cloud seeding does increase precipitation. The cloud seeding technology is not used all around the globe due to the lack of statistics supporting the effect of cloud seeding and the concern for health and safety.

SCIENTIFIC STUDIES

  • French et al. published a paper in 2018 detailing a study on glaciogenic seeding. The study was able to produce precipitation (snow) on a mountain surface from silver iodide glaciogenic seeding. The study used radars (ground-based X-band and airborne W-band) and in situ cloud physics to determine the start and development of the ice crystals from the silver iodide glaciogenic seeding.
  • In 2018, Rasmussen et al. published a paper on the results of a model used to estimate the impact of AgI ground-based cloud seeding for the Wyoming Weather Modification Pilot Project (WWMPP). Their results found that the seeding impact on annual precipitation over the Sierra Madre and Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming is about 1.5%.
  • Chu and Geerts published a paper in 2017 in American Meteorological Society about gound-based glaciogenic seeding. The study found that AgI glaciogenic seeding does increase the amount of snow fall in a shallow, largely blocked cloud.
  • In 2016, Lulin Xue published a case study to determine AgI impacts on precipitation. More precipitation is generated when AgI particles are released from ground-based generators. The simulations of the seeding event found that the seeding effect ranged between 5 and 20% over the Medicine Bow Mountains for different grid spacings.
  • The Wyoming Weather Modification Pilot Program-Level II Study published in 2014 found that there is a positive effect from seeding between 5 and 15%.

LACK OF IMPLEMENTATION

LACK OF RIGOROUS STATISTICS

  • The lack of implementation stems from the lack of rigorous statistics. These weak statistics are caused by the nature of these studies. When a cloud is seeded it is now impossible to determine whether that exact same cloud would have rained or snowed.
  • The effect of cloud seeding is hard to determine, despite constantly improving computer modeling.
  • Scientists are still trying to determine if cloud seeding produces increased snowpack on the ground. The science is still not consistent enough to fully determine the effect, but the science is improving.

CONCERNS FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • There are concerns for the environment after seeding a cloud with AgI. Silver is toxic to organisms living in water in high amounts. Shawn Benner, a geochemist, claims that the AgI levels after seeding found in surface water are below 50,000 ppt (the toxic threshold), but if seeding clouds becomes common the silver levels could become a concern.
  • The public is also concerned that silver iodide might make them sick. Science fiction movies and conspiracy theories also mislead the public about the science behind cloud seeding.
  • The public does not understand exactly what happens in cloud seeding and that can create doubt and confusion. One such confusion is that drought can be caused downwind of a cloud seeding event.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

The research process began by searching for scientific articles on the effect of cloud seeding. Many articles were readily available. The newest articles indicating an increase in precipitation due to cloud seeding were chosen for the request. The articles found for the lack of implementation all mention that there are some complications with the statistics in the studies and that the public is highly concerned with the health and safety of silver iodide and potential negative effects of cloud seeding.
Sources
Sources

From Part 03
Quotes
  • "North American Weather Consultants, incorporated in 1950, specializes in providing Weather Modification, Air Quality Services, Ambient Monitoring, Tracer Studies, Applied Meteorological Studies, and Expert Testimony to clients in the U.S.A. and around the world."
  • "Contacts: Don Griffith, President or Mark Solak, Vice President"
Quotes
  • "NAWC has conducted weather modification projects and provided consulting services in many countries outside the United States, including Europe, South America, Central America, Asia, and the Middle East."
  • "The Company’s client list includes hydroelectric utilities, government agencies, water districts, universities and private entities"
  • "It was however initially established only as a weather modification company and later expanded into providing other services mentioned above. Weather modification has however always been NAWC's primary specialty"
Quotes
  • "We are the company with the most experience in Latin America for the realization of projects for planting clouds with terrestrial generators."
  • " Our company has the knowledge and the experience to offer an integral and efficient implementation of this type of programs."
  • "WE ARE SPECIALISTS IN CLOUD SEEDING Extensive experience in the development of cloud seeding programs with the goal of increasing rainfall."
From Part 04
Quotes
  • "Cloud seeding is a process by which silver iodide is released into the clouds, either from the air or via ground-based generators. In the case of the SNOWIE Project, the silver iodide was released by a second aircraft funded through Idaho Power Co., while the UW King Air took measurements to understand the impact of the silver iodide, French says."
Quotes
  • "Over 50 countries use cloud seeding for improving the prospects of weather modification. There are several claims regarding the use of various techniques for weather modification for rainfall. Not all methods have been tested or proven scientifically, she pointed out."
Quotes
  • "The main purpose of AREP in Weather Modification is to promote scientific practices in weather modification research. This is done through the WMO Expert Team on Weather Modification and through organizing the quadriennial scientific conferences on weather modification."
From Part 06
Quotes
  • "In this study, measurements from ground-based X-band radars, an airborne W-band cloud radar, and in situ cloud physics probes were presented that together provide the strongest evidence yet for the initiation and growth of ice crystals as the result of glaciogenic seeding with AgI, leading to precipitation (snow) on a mountain surface within a specific target region. "
  • "These comprehensive observations provide unambiguous evidence that glaciogenic seeding of a supercooled liquid cloud can enhance natural precipitation growth in a seeded cloud, leading to precipitation that would otherwise not fall within the targeted region. "
  • " However, this study does not directly address cloud seeding effectiveness. Rather, observations such as these are a necessary component for investigations into the efficacy of cloud seeding and, as such, can be utilized in future investigations to quantify cloud seeding impact."
Quotes
  • "In summary, this case study finds that ground-based glaciogenic seeding enhances snowfall in a shallow, mostly blocked orographic cloud without significant natural precipitation. This study does not address seeding impact in the deeper, precipitating clouds that operational cloud-seeding projects typically target."
  • "This study examines the impact of ground-based glaciogenic seeding on a very shallow (<1 km), largely blocked cloud upstream of the Medicine Bow range in southern Wyoming, observed during the ASCII campaign."
Quotes
  • "The results of the model ensemble in which the paired seeding effect was estimated for each ensemble member produced a mean precipitation enhancement of 5%, with an inner-quartile range of 3%–7%. These results provide an estimate of the impact of ground-based cloud seeding in the Sierra Madre and Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming for the RSE EUs that accounts for key uncertainties in both initial conditions and model physics. As indicated by Ritzman et al. (2015), the RSE cases account for only 30% of the total precipitation, thus the overall seeding impact on annual precipitation over this region is ~1.5%."
Quotes
  • "AgI particles released from the ground-based generators affect the cloud within the boundary layer below 1 km AGL through nucleating extra ice crystals, converting liquid water into ice, depleting more vapor, and generating more precipitation on the ground."
  • "The seeding effects on the ground precipitation are confined within narrow areas. The relative seeding effect ranges between 5% and 20% for the simulations with different grid spacing."