Belfast Telegraph 3/2/15 By Andrew Griffin
A new service, from UK company Oliver’s Travels, will charge £100,000 to use chemicals to keep rain from falling and ruining weddings.
The firm will offer the service for certain venues in France, and hopes to bring it to the UK eventually “if it takes off”.
The technology uses silver iodide to “seed” the clouds — the compound allows the water vapour in the clouds to condense, and then produces rain.
The company’s meteorologists and pilots will begin planning three weeks in advance of the wedding, forcing the clouds to rain so that the sky is clear by the time of the date.
“The cloud will be burst over a period of 24 hours,” the company says. “The project itself will take around 3 weeks all in all. It would take a week to get the airplane, pilot and meteorologist to France and back. The crew will need to be on the ground at least a week before the event.”
The company says that “cloud seeding is now considered a mainstream tool, primarily to improve rain precipitation and snow”. While that is somewhat true — it is often used in China, where it was put to work to try and keep rain from affecting the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony — experts disagree on how effective it can be.
But the company says that it can guarantee success, unless a natural disaster such as a hurricane happens.
It says that it will be initially run in select areas of France because there are certain rules in place. The company will only fly at least 30 kilometres from major airports, it said.
Cloud seeding is not new technology. During the Vietnam war the United States used similar methods to modify the weather under a highly classified program called Operation Popeye. The operation was used to induce rain and extend the East Asian Monsoon season specifically over areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.