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Could Lasers Change the Weather One Day?

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(photo credit. sxc.hu)

(photo credit. sxc.hu)

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) - It sounds like science fiction, but could lasers one day change the weather?

Physicists are meeting at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva this week to discuss just that.

“Basically it’s cloud seeding only using lasers?” News 4 Chief Meteorologist Steve Templeton says.

Cloud seeding is a method of weather modification that has been going on scientifically and systematically for nearly a century since 1915.

It works by spreading either dry ice, or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols, into the upper part of clouds to try to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.

Researchers in Geneva will explore using lasers to create clouds, induce rain and even trigger lightning.

It works by “stripping atoms from the atmosphere” to create seeds that clouds then form around.

Templeton says while this is still in the very early stages, it may be possible one day for scientists to create bigger clouds using lasers that would produce 30-40% more rain in areas that need it, or use lasers to guide lightning away from sensitive buildings such as power plants or airports.

This is the second Conference on Laser-based Weather Control. The first was held in 2011.

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