Cloud Seeding to Increase Snowpack - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Cloud Seeding to Increase Snowpack

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It's no secret our area is in constant need of more precipitation especially with two relatively dry winters recently.

Every winter scientists at the Desert Research Institute - turn their effort toward cloud seeding.

The process takes place on the summit of Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe. That's where we joined a team from the DRI who told us a little about the science behind this form of weather modification.

"The process in which we put in tiny particles into cloud systems as they're coming over the Sierra Nevada in the winter time so that we can make more snow that might otherwise fall from the clouds themselves," says Dr. Jeffrey Tilley.

Those tiny particles are made from a chemical called silver iodide. They get dispersed into passing clouds by a generator, then attach themselves to tiny water droplets in the clouds, making them big enough and heavy enough to fall to earth.

Most of the cloud seeding happens during the winter because the goal is to bolster the existing snow pack which will in turn create more water for the Truckee Meadows.

DRI researches say they want people to understand there's nothing unsafe about the chemical they use.

"Because silver iodide is a compound that doesn't dissolve in water, so it can't interact with any biological organisms, it stays inert."

Currently researchers are able to start the generators remotely with the use of their computers, but they say by next winter, they hope to use drones to improve the effectiveness of cloud seeding.

Written by Andi Guevara

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