One thing is certain: when it comes to ensuring nice weather for the world's largest party, the Chinese cannot be accused of being subtle. The Chinese government authorized the use of 1,104 cloud-seeding missile launches from 4:00-11:39 p.m. on Friday night to reduce the possibility of rain ahead of the 29th Olympic opening ceremony in Beijing, which sounded like a military operation. This was the first time in Olympic history that weather manipulation technology was employed during an Olympic event. This summer could be a very wet one for Beijing, and officials were anxious that their moment of great national pride will be ruined. However, it appears that the 21 rain dispersal launch sites kept nature at bay and ensured that the celebration fireworks stayed dry...
Despite the fact that cloud seeding is still a contentious activity, both China and Russia are large-scale proponents of various delivery technologies. A block of cement dropped from the sky during a Russian Air Force cloud seeding operation in June, causing a hole in someone's roof. Although this story was amusing (although not to the owner, who threatened to sue the Kremlin), cloud seeding has some serious local climate implications. Weather modification, according to scientists, can exacerbate drought conditions in one location while increasing the chance of flooding in another. It is, at best, an unexpected process that is frequently seen as highly unreliable. The Chinese and Russian governments, on the other hand, continue to seed clouds in order to disperse rain in advance of public holidays and events.
Chinese meteorologists believe that the weather manipulation rockets were highly effective in keeping the skies clear and the audience dry inside the main Olympic National Stadium (a.k.a. "The Birds Nest") ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday.
"Between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., we fired a total of 1,104 rain dispersal rockets from 21 locations throughout the city." 11:39 p.m. and 11:39 p.m. On Friday, the Beijing Municipal Meteorological Bureau effectively intercepted a rain belt approaching towards the stadium" - Guo Hu, Beijing Municipal Meteorological Bureau (BMB).
Because the humidity was approaching 90% and rain clouds had been monitored approaching the Chinese capital city since 7:20 a.m., Chinese meteorologists determined cloud seeding was the only choice, according to Xinhua news. Scientists predicted that rain will fall on the opening ceremony in these conditions. "Under those conditions, even a little bubble in the rain cloud could have created rainfall, let alone lightning," Guo said, implying that any slight instability in the atmosphere could have triggered a storm.
The Beijing Municipal Meteorological Bureau issued a "Yellow Alert" (the third highest) for a thunderstorm at 9:35 p.m., sounding more like a terror threat than a rain warning. Heavy rain drenched central Beijing shortly after. The clouds had cleared by 10:42 p.m., according to officials, and the opening ceremony remained storm-free. They also reported that heavy rain was recorded in several places surrounding Beijing, presumably indicating that the targeted cloud seeding strategy was successful.