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Making Rain Clouds With Lasers

Who ever thought shooting a laser at the sky would let it rain?

Let it rain!!

Shooting lasers at the sky can make the germ of a rain cloud, a new study shows. In an experiment that smacks of science fiction, scientists used a high-powered laser to squeeze water from air, both indoors and out.

The study is among the first to propose a direct test of how quantum entanglement, an effect that inexorably links two electrons in a way that Einstein called “spooky,” could change the behavior of whole animals.

Although the technique is unlikely to be an instant rainmaker anytime soon, it could plant the seeds for more eco-friendly cloud manipulation.

Atmospheric scientists have been trying to build artificial clouds since the 1940s, with mixed success. The most popular method, shooting particles of silver iodide into the sky, relied on the fact that raindrops need something to condense around.

Kasparian and colleagues took inspiration from a mist-making apparatus that was invented in 1911 to detect cosmic rays, highly energetic subatomic particles that come from deep space. A physicist named Charles Wilson noticed that when cosmic rays strike a sealed container filled with water vapor, they leave a visible trail of water droplets behind them. This works because the cosmic rays knock electrons off the water molecules, leaving behind charged particles that act like specks of dust for water to congeal around.

“Our idea was to mimic what happens in a Wilson chamber,” Kasparian says. “If you get some condensation with cosmic rays, we should get even more condensation with a laser.”

source: Wired
Shooting high powered lasers at the sky might be fun and could have the potential to create rain but is this sustainable? The generic response to solve a supply management problem is, “build bigger” or “make more”. Very seldom do we seek to reduce our demand or even to optimise our current infrastructure.
If shooting lasers or other particles into the air has the potential to make it rain then that is a great success for science, but is this really beneficial to the environment as a whole? How does this effect the bigger picture?
As the majority of Cape Town’s cold fronts come in from the west, how would shooting the atmosphere on the dryer western coast affect to climate inland (Worcester)? How will this climate change effect communities and the environment? Could this behaviour be detrimental to the indigenous vegetation, that has adapted to a certain rainfall pattern and how would this effect the inhabitants of that area?
Would they be needing to artificially irrigate the land more for sustenance?

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