September 24, 2023

IIT Kanpur Conducts Successful Cloud Seeding Test Flight for Artificial Rain

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) recently conducted a test flight for cloud seeding, a technique aimed at creating conditions for rain and combating dry spells and air pollution. The experiment, conducted with approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), holds promising potential for areas facing water scarcity, such as the Bundelkhand region in Uttar Pradesh.

Cloud seeding involves the use of various chemical agents, including silver iodide, dry ice, and common salt, to enhance the likelihood of precipitation. In IIT Kanpur’s experiment, a Cessna aircraft equipped with cloud seeding attachments took flight from the institution’s Flight Laboratory. Professor Manindra Agrawal, from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur, spearheaded the project and expressed satisfaction with the successful outcome, stating, “Our capabilities in this direction have been successfully tested.”

The journey to achieve this milestone was not without challenges. In 2017, the Uttar Pradesh government sought assistance from IIT-Kanpur for artificial rain in the Bundelkhand region. Initially, China had agreed to perform cloud seeding in Mahoba but declined to share the necessary know-how, leading to the abandonment of the plan. Undeterred, IIT Kanpur scientists dedicated six years to developing their own expertise in cloud seeding.

During the test flight, the Cessna aircraft reached an altitude of 5000 feet after taking off from IIT Kanpur’s airstrip. By releasing chemical powder into the clouds through cloud seeding technology, the aircraft stimulated the formation of raindrops. Subsequently, rainfall was observed in the surrounding areas, providing validation for the effectiveness of the artificial rain technique.

This successful cloud seeding experiment by IIT Kanpur holds immense promise for regions grappling with water scarcity and environmental challenges. As India continues to explore innovative solutions to address such issues, advancements in cloud seeding technology offer a ray of hope for mitigating droughts and alleviating air pollution in the future.