Cloud Seeding Operations Prove Beneficial

Cloud Seeding Operations Prove Beneficial

Cloud seeding operations are scheduled to resume in Texoma. If weather permits, Seeding and Operations and Atmospheric Research (SOAR), will start cloud seeding Thursday, August 28, 2014, according to city officials.

The city of Wichita Falls started a six month contract with SOAR in March, 2014. The seeding operations lasted from March to July. That's when the city took a two month break from the program.

During that time SOAR sent off information on the work they had completed, for the clouds and rainfall to be evaluated. After receiving the results of the operation city officials said they are very pleased with the results.

"We think cloud seeding has a very positive effect of that," said Teresa Rose, Deputy Director of Public Works, Wichita Falls. "We would have hoped for some more events during that four month time that we could have done the evaluation on."

The evaluations were conducted by Dr. Arquimedes Ruiz Columbie, from Active Influence and Science Management, in Lubbock, Texas. The report shows 27 clouds were seeded and evaluated.

They compared seeded clouds to non-seeded clouds. The evaluation is an extensive process, but essentially, they compare clouds with the same likeness.

The clouds need to be that of the same size, on the same days, in the same areas. Not all clouds could be evaluated because they did not find a match to evaluate it with.

In small clouds they found that the life of the cloud lasted 28 percent longer in the seeded cloud, according to the evaluation report. They found that the volume increase 45 percent in the seeded cloud, according to the evaluation report.

If the cloud has a longer lifetime that means that the rain is likely to fall longer, according to Gary Walker, a SOAR official.

"It indicates that we created a good amount of extra rainfall in the areas we were trying to put the water in, primarily the water sheds," said Walker.

The water sheds gained more than one extra inch of water by cloud seeding operations, according to Walker.

"We do feel  even when you break down the numbers and you look very conservatively at the numbers that the evaluation put together that it did add to the reservoirs," said Rose.  

Results also show a downwind effect on the clouds seeded shows it even brought extra precipitation to Hardeman, Haskell, and Jack Counties, according to the evaluation report.

The evaluation broke down the seeding increases by area. Results show that the west target area increased 3.7 percent. That includes Motley, Cottle, Foard, and Knox Counties.

The central target, where Lake Kemp is, received 5.6 percent in increases. That includes Wilbarger, Baylor, and Throckmorton Counties.

The east target received the highest percent of increases with 10.6 percent. This is the area of Lake Kickapoo and Lake Arrowhead. It includes Wichita, Archer, Young, and Clay Counties.

SOAR operations target clouds heading to beneficial areas, such as the water sheds. So they may seed clouds that are not in the area, but are heading in the right direction.

The six month contract with the city ends in October. Wichita City officials will meet in the winter to determine their future with cloud seeding.

Brittany Costello, Newschannel 6