Cloud Seeding Leading to Forecast Uncertainty: Weather Bureau


Cloud seeding is making weather forecasts around the country less accurate while better coordination is needed between water level forecasting and dam managers, according to a leading official.Department of Meteorology and Hydrology Director General Mr. Khanmany Khounphol made the claims in his address at the 6th Monsoon Forum held last Friday at the department office to report about disaster warnings for the past eight months and to discuss its planned response for the next three months.

Artificial rainmaking activity in neighbouring countries, especially in their provinces sharing a border with our country, is making our forecasts inaccurate, Mr. Khanmany said.

He explained his department prepared forecasts by thoroughly analysing all information received from available technology and equipment and if this showed increasing humidity and clouds forming they would probably predict rainfall for the following days.

However, Mr. Khanmany argued that cloud seeding activities were complicating the department’s task as artificial rainmakers also utilised times of increasing humidity to be successful.

The artificial rain activity has caused rain to fall in the neighbouring country instead of in our country as forecast. Artificial rainmaking activities are a trans-boundary issue, he said.

However, the director general also noted the country actually benefited sometimes from artificial rain activities in neighbouring Thailand to address their recent drought, saying many cloud seeding activities there had led to precipitation in Laos instead of Thailand.

The deficiency in water level forecasting was tabled for discussion at the forum, with Mr. Khanmany noting that inaccurate measurement and forecasting had resulted in people, especially farmers being badly affected in the past.

He blamed the lack of coordination between his department and management teams of various hydropower dams except Nam Ngum 1.

The lack of announcements about water retention and release from the other dams makes it in difficult to predict and issue warnings to the public about water levels in the rivers, the director general said.

The water level in the Mekong River has already reached 11 metres this wet season in Vientiane, very close to the warning level of 11.5 metres. The water level reached 12.47 metres in Pakxan where the warning level is 13.5 metres.

The Mekong River in other areas has been around 2-5 metres below warning levels. Mr. Khanmany said the department had been regularly provided with announcements on water retention and release from Mekong dams in China this year.

Source: Vientiane Times