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  (Source: Reuters)

A Chinese worker demonstrates how he will fire a barrage against errant clouds during the Olympics in August.   (Source: Reuters)
China will bring out the BFGs to try to make sure weather doesn't rain on its Olympics

China may have to worry about clouds of smog and black soot due to its lax environmental policies and large scale adoption of inefficient partial-combustion obsolete technologies, but one thing it won't have to worry about at the 2008 Beijing Olympics this August is rain – that is if everything goes according to plan.

China is leveraging its significant military resources to wage a war against Mother Nature.  China plans to deploy 20 anti-aircraft (AA) guns around the city, firing a steady barrage of special payloads containing silver iodide and dry ice into cloud cover, whenever it should appear.  The Chinese hope that this novel strategy will help make the Olympics rain free and perhaps give it a chance to show off its military prowess.

The country is so confident in its rain fighting powers that the 91,000-seat Olympic stadium, nicknamed the "Bird's Nest," has no roof.  The efforts are being led by the city's Weather Modification Office, a sub-branch of the China Meteorological Administration.  The AA/rocket launcher assault is only one phase of a three-pronged assault the Office plans to deploy against inconvenient weather.

The first phase is detection.  China will use satellites, planes, and radar to track incoming weather.  It will also leverage the power of an IBM p575 supercomputer, which the city purchased last year.  The computer is capable of doing a modest 9.8 trillion floating point operations per second and has enough power to accurately model by the kilometer hourly reports for the entire 44,000 square kilometer (17,000 square mile) Beijing area.

Upon detection, the second phase will commence, starting with a barrage from 20 ground-based sites encircling the stadium.  Two aircraft will also be scrambled to spray dry ice and silver iodide into the clouds in an attempt to stop them from reaching the stadium.

If rain manages to break through these barriers, China will deploy its weapon of last resort:  liquid nitrogen.  Aircraft will pummel the clouds with liquid nitrogen.  This, according to officials, will increase the number of droplets in the cloud, but reduce their size, making them less likely to fall.  Officials hope this last ditch effort might hold off the clouds long enough for them to pass safely over the stadium before releasing rain.

There is a 50 percent chance of precipitation during any day that month, according to past trends.  The games will occur during Northeast Asia's rainy season.  Zhang Qian, head of Beijing's Weather Modification Office, warns that past results for weather modification during heavy rain haven't always been successful.  However, he optimistically mentions, "the results with light rain have been satisfactory."

The Chinese government is working very hard to try to make the games a demonstration in the countries newfound power and prosperity.  The government spent $40B USD bringing 120,000 migrant workers (at $130 per month) into Beijing for the massive construction projects planned, starting in 2001. In all, 1.5 million people will be displaced by the new construction projects. 

China, with a population of 1.32 billion, has a penchant for excess; featuring the world's largest dam, the world's highest railroad, and in 2009, the world's largest Ferris wheel.  China's weather modification program will also be the largest in the world, when fully deployed.  It will feature over 1,500 weather modification professionals who will coordinate 30 aircraft and their crews, and a ground force of 37,000 part-time workers, mostly peasant farmers.



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Does anyone see a problem?
By Proteusza on 3/27/2008 12:22:26 PM , Rating: 4
With flying aircraft above a site in which more than a thousand anti aircraft guns might suddenly open fire?




RE: Does anyone see a problem?
By 325hhee on 3/27/2008 12:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
There's a restriction in aviation called a "No Fly Zone" That means absolutely no aircraft, with the exception of military, or granted permitted aircrafts, would be allow to fly by, or hover in that zone. Failure to do so may lead to the offending flier to be shot down without provocation.

Why do you think the military is very quick to scramble and shoot down anything if it goes near the White House. It's a restricted area and that helicopter or plane would be shot down. So, no there's no problems, I'm sure the Govt would tell the FAA, or whatever agency where the cut offs are in the area, and chances it will be out of range of the AAs.


RE: Does anyone see a problem?
By JustTom on 3/27/2008 1:57:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why do you think the military is very quick to scramble and shoot down anything if it goes near the White House.


The military might be quick to scramble but they are hardly quick to shoot down. Dozens of planes have intruded on White House airspace and none has been shot down.


By otispunkmeyer on 3/27/2008 3:01:06 PM , Rating: 2
well i applaud there restraint... its a tricky situation, but the white house is still here and those dozens of planes and their occupants are still alive today instead of being dead because of small mistake or navigation error.

its better that way im sure, than to just shoot down everything without question the minute it sets foot in white house airspace.


RE: Does anyone see a problem?
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 3/27/2008 1:56:53 PM , Rating: 2
What about the goodyear blimp?


By Captain Orgazmo on 3/28/2008 12:26:29 PM , Rating: 2
Forget the blimp, what happens when they release the doves... (do they still do that at the olympics?)


By mendocinosummit on 3/27/2008 6:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
I hope nobody is racing when they go off.


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