Study: Lasers might be used to create rain

Sept. 2, 2011 at 5:01 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Swiss researchers say laser beams fired into humid air to create water droplets could determine when and where rain falls.

Scientists at the University of Geneva have used the technique, known as laser-assisted water condensation, to generate the droplets in very humid conditions over the Rhone River in Switzerland, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The lasers create nitric acid particles which draw water molecules together and stop them from evaporating, the study published in the journal Nature Communications said.

While the generated droplets were far too small to fall as rain, researchers said, if they could be made hundreds of times larger they could create rainfall given the right conditions.

For instance, they said, if the lasers were fired into air currents that are blowing towards mountains the air might cool enough as it rises for the droplets to grow large enough to fall as rain.

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