Scientists working on a project to slow down the relentless flooding that has swamped Jakarta since mid January say that cloud seeding is getting the job done. Usually used to promote rainfall, cloud seeding might seem like the worst solution to slow floods in Indonesia’s capital, but by scattering salt on rain clouds above the ocean, officials believe they have prevented those clouds from emptying over the city.

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Scientists from the Weather Modification Technical Unit of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology are injecting salt told that they believe their experiment to slow down flooding in Jakarta is working. This was particularly true from January 26-29 when the heaviest amount of rainfall was expected to fall on the city.

We have conducted an evaluation using the data in our radar device, which records cloud development and movement. From our analysis, cloud seeding contributed to the decrease of rainfall in Jakarta during this period,” Tri Handoko Seto told the paper.

But Zev Levn, Chair in Atmospheric Physics at Tel Aviv University challenges the claim. He says that it is very difficult to prove that the rain would have fallen on Jakarta and that the absence of a control area, where no cloud seeding took place, compromises the scientific integrity of the experiment. Nonetheless, Seto says they will soon publish their findings in order to prove that cloud seeding can be used to delay flooding.

Via The Guardian