A THREE-day cloud seeding symposium in Melbourne last week has sparked formation of a specialised wo

31 May, 2007 07:00 PM
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The water-focussed committee will maintain a tight focus on research co-ordination in the area of precipitation enhancement, otherwise known as cloud seeding.

Many weather experts doubt the effectiveness of cloud seeding on the basis it is near impossible to prove a cloud would not have shed snow or rain without being seeded.

But Australian scientists have started to take cloud seeding more seriously after years of drought and a mainstream shift in political attitudes has increased the general public¹s awareness of the dire need to improve the nation¹s water access and supplies.

While the committee¹s final make-up is yet to be confirmed and the remaining individual representatives are yet to be named, some of the organisations already committed to the project include Snowy Hydro, Hydro Tasmania, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), CSIRO, and Monash University.

Among the group¹s initial tasks will be to gain a better understanding of the biogenic and aerosol effects on clouds as well as modelling the predictability of clouds and rainfall.

Last weeks symposium also agreed that building on existing initiatives was essential.

The meeting also called for the establishment of a research network either within an existing group or through a separate initiative such as the Australian Research Council (ARC) networks.

BOM chief scientist Neville Smith said he was delighted with the symposium¹s outcome.

Dr Smith said scientists from around Australia and the world had held frank and lengthy discussions about the science of cloud seeding.

³The level of scientific discussion and debate was very high indeed,² Dr Smith said.

³The Bureau hosted the meeting and was pleased to have brought scientists together and facilitated a way forward for this science.

³New technology, such as the Bureau¹s CP2 radar near Brisbane, modelling systems, and observational techniques developed within the weather modification community offer new opportunities.²

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