Every year, China launches thousands of rockets and artillery shells into the sky. They're not part of a set of war games or preparation for a battle with Taiwan, but rather a battle with the weather. Through its Weather Modification Program, the Chinese government hopes to control the fickle forces behind rain. Run by the Weather Modification Department, a division of the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Science, the program employs and trains 32,000 to 35,000 people across China, some of them farmers, who are paid $100 a month to handle anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers.More here.
Now Yu and the other rainmakers face their toughest challenge: making sure it stays dry for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The idea is for the peasant gunners to work with meteorologists watching radar in the capital. Together, they will hunt pregnant rain clouds and pound them with rockets containing silver iodide. The hope is that any moisture will fall before the clouds can threaten the parade of athletes and lighting of the Olympic flame at the new National Stadium.Read more.