Japan seeds clouds to boost Tokyo rain

August 23, 2013

Japanese scientists have fired cloud seeding equipment to help top up reservoirs serving the 35 million people of greater Tokyo, officials said Friday, amid a sweltering summer dry spell.

Months of below normal rainfall and soaring temperatures have left supplies around 60 percent of the average for the time of year, sparking calls to economise on water in the heaving Japanese capital.

Using a piece of equipment nearly half a century old, the Bureau of Waterworks sent a plume of up through a chimney over an area outside of Tokyo, an official told AFP.

Around 17.5 millimetres (two thirds of an inch) of rain was recorded over the following two hours, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

"It's difficult to judge whether the machine was direct cause of the rain, but we'd like to think that the run was effective," the official said.

A bakingly hot summer has seen the mercury go as high as a record 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) in Japan this month.

Around 47,000 people have been taken to hospital nationwide suffering from heatstroke or exhaustion, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. More than 100 people have died because of the heat in the capital alone, Tokyo government figures show.

Seeding is commonly carried out by planes spraying substances directly into the air. The idea is that the silver iodide provides something for to bind to. When the droplets become large enough, they fall as rain.

Explore further: Heatstroke cases up as Japan saves electricity

Related Stories

Heatstroke cases up as Japan saves electricity

July 14, 2011

Heatstroke cases in Japan have shot up in the early summer as many air-conditioners have been switched off amid an energy saving campaign following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Tokyo cherry trees reach full bloom

March 22, 2013

Tokyo's cherry trees were in stunning full bloom on Friday, Japan's weather agency said, marking the second earliest blossoming in the capital on record.

Heatwave kills four in Japan

August 11, 2013

A heatwave stifled Japan Sunday as the temperature topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit ) in two cities, leaving at least four people dead over the weekend, officials and reports said.

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

'Carbon sink' detected underneath world's deserts

July 28, 2015

The world's deserts may be storing some of the climate-changing carbon dioxide emitted by human activities, a new study suggests. Massive aquifers underneath deserts could hold more carbon than all the plants on land, according ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.