A Rain Un-maker
Severe and continuous rainfall is not only depressing, but it also can create crop-killing floods, sweep away homes, and destroy infrastructure. To curb the deluge in hard-hit locales, researchers are firing lasers into clouds—both natural and lab-simulated ones—to stop the drops. Physicists have found that as lasers ionize air inside the clouds, the tiny nucleation sites where water forms (around dust and bacteria) become moisture magnets. As more sites attract more moisture, they compete with each other. Water droplets need mass to fall, so they take much longer to become fully grown and do that dance. While clouds still might rain, at least it won’t be until after your parade.
Far-Out Plans for Taming Our Weather