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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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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?)


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