BEIJING, May 23 (UPI) -- A leading Chinese meteorologist says the country will employ more rainmaking technology and make better use of it in the next five years.
Zheng Guoguang, administrator of the China Meteorological Administration, said China's use of artificial precipitation technologies lags behind the leading countries in the field by 15 to 45 percent, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
"Many of the nation's natural and agricultural disasters, especially those involving grain and tobacco, are caused by drought," he said during the National Weather Modification Conference in Beijing Tuesday.
"With so many areas in China, especially rural areas, vulnerable to storms, blizzards, hail and other natural disasters, the demand has been rapidly increasing to use science and technology to reduce the risks," he said.
Some 560,000 manipulations of the weather have been conducted since 2002 using aircraft, rockets and projectiles carrying dry ice or silver iodide particles to stimulate rainfall, the China Meteorological Administration reported.
That helped release 489.7 billion tons of rain and saved about $10.4 billion in economic losses, officials said.
However, lack of investment in scientific and technological research has slowed development of weather manipulation efforts, Wang Guanghe of the meteorological association's artificial weather intervention center said.
A lack of cloud-seeding equipment in some cities and an absence of a system for relaying information promptly hampers efforts to concentrate on more than one particular region at a time, Wang said.