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Australia: Cloud seeding experiment before major flooding investigated

The Tasmanian Opposition has urged the State Government to release a report into Hydro Tasmania’s decision to conduct a cloud seeding flight in the Derwent River Catchment a day before serious flooding.

Cloud seeding is a technique used to increase rain to bolster dams and involves the addition of a substance to suitable clouds to encourage the growth of ice crystals or raindrops.

Energy Minister Matthew Groom has requested a detailed explanation from the Government-owned electricity business about why ran the flight while a huge east coast storm front tracked towards the state.

Opposition Leader Bryan Green questioned when the Minister would have more answers for people affected by the floods.

“Will you make the report public so the people of the Derwent Valley have information about why this seemingly ill-advised decision was made?” he asked.

Mr Groom told Parliament he was yet to receive the report on the June 5 cloud seeding flight.

“I would have to acknowledge that, on the face of it, it seems difficult to understand how it was that there was a cloud seeding operation on the Sunday in light of all the circumstances,” he said.

Ouse farmer, Trevor Foster, 81, was washed away in the Derwent Valley floods on June 6 and has not been found.

What is cloud seeding?

  • Hydro Tasmania describes cloud seeding as a technique for increasing precipitation (eg. rain or snow) using naturally occurring clouds
  • “It involves the introduction of additional particles into suitable clouds to encourage the formation and growth of ice crystals or raindrops and thus increase the amount of precipitation that will fall from the cloud”



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