Cloud-seeding operations begin in drought-stricken Zimbabwe

January 23, 2016, 7:28am

By Brian Latham, Bloomberg on Business Day Live

Water-attracting silver iodide will form ice crystals in the cloulds, which will increase in size until gravity forces them to fall as rain

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s Meteorological Services Department has started a countrywide cloud-seeding operation, the Harare-based Daily News reported, citing Tich Zinyemba, a forecaster with the agency.

More than 95% of the Southern African country has received less than three-quarters of its average rainfall this season, Mr Zinyemba told the newspaper. Rains typically fall between mid-November to the end of April in Zimbabwe.

Two aircraft from the meteorologial department will seed clouds with silver iodide, a water-attracting chemical that forms ice crystals. The crystals increase in size and weight until gravity forces them to fall as rain.

Zimbabwe, along with much of Southern Africa, is experiencing the worst drought in about two decades.