Mexico 'bombing' the clouds to fight the drought

Access to drinking water has been one of the main priorities of the human being from its origins. In times of drought, rain was considered a blessing, but pre

Mexico 'bombing' the clouds to fight the drought

Access to drinking water has been one of the main priorities of the human being from its origins. In times of drought, rain was considered a blessing, but predicting his arrival or explaining his origin remained a mystery for ancestral communities. They did not have more remedy than to attribute the existence of these natural phenomena that tried to invoke through rituals and prayers. In pre-Hispanic Mexico, the Aztecs attributed those powers to Tlaloc, God of rain, to whom, according to the worldview of him, had to feed 'with the sacrifice of thousands of children between the months of February and April. Science managed to banish these beliefs and develop techniques that have allowed that, Currently, Mexico becomes one of the pointers in the development of rain stimulation techniques.

The method that is applied in Mexico is the same that is already used in other countries, such as China or United Arab Emirates, but the original recipe was elaborated, in the middle of the last century, by Bernard Vonnegut and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Irving Langmuir . These US researchers discovered that the beach iodide injected in the clouds stimulated precipitation. Unveilled by the basic principle, the main powers were launched to the race for 'sowing' the clouds, especially those that most suffered the effects of drought and climate change. Mexico conducted one of the longest experiments in history in this field between 1948 and 1978, an initiative that resumed last year and whose results "exceptionally good" have encouraged the government to redouble their investment.

Last year, the show of the rain stimulation promoted by the National Commission of Arid Zones (CONEZA) managed to mitigate the effects of the drought in 98% of the selected areas, equivalent to nine million hectares. With just one and a half million euros of budget and four aircraft of the Mexican Air Force at his disposal, the managers of the project have 'bombed' with silver iodide Los Esdios de Sonora, Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Baja California, Durango and Coahuila, achieving , as explained by Engineer Ramón Sandoval, director of CONEZA, who affirms that in the 90 flights held rain: "Despite the drought, all selected areas were provided with enough water to save millions of plants and animals."

According to Concape, thanks to the program, 25 forest fires were fought and benefited directly to 10,000 inhabitants and 3,000 ranchers who live in the area of influence. The agricultural production of cycle 2022 was also secured in the six selected states and increased water volumes accumulated in all dams, with records between 65% and 90%. The keys to the success of the project are, according to Sandoval, the formula used and the atmospheric characteristics of the country: "Mexico is a country privileged for having the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific that provoke clouds and very humid currents that favor this phenomenon happen ".

Silver iodide spraying on clouds remains without being an accurate science and there are a multitude of factors that can alter its effectiveness. As Sandoval explains, "it is not witchcraft or magic, it is the simple application of the proper technique. It's like trying to make a coca-cola having all the ingredients, but not knowing the time and shape of your combinations. Right now there is Many countries testing different techniques ". The engineer recognizes that "several countries have approached interested in acquiring the formula" and they are working "to achieve the patent."

The success of the program has led the Government of López Obrador to redouble its commitment into this technique. According to Adela Sandoval, for this year a total of 12 programs have been authorized that will benefit around 24 million hectares: "If we get the same results, it will be a success and we can accumulate a lot of water to keep the crops and The prey, "he says.

The reinforcement of the investment arrives at a particularly delicate moment. According to data from the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), Mexico suffered between 2020 and 2021 the second most severe drought in its history. In April of last year, lack of water reached extreme levels: three quarters of the country had a rainfall deficit and more than half of the national territory crossed extreme drought.

Currently the levels of drought are at 83% and the country's reservoirs register 50% of its capacity. The Conagua has also estimated an increase in water stress in 31 of the 32 states of the country over the next 10 years. One of the main problems faced by the country, in addition to the aridity of its territory, is that agriculture and livestock abolish 76% of water consumption at the national level.

Mexico is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and natural disasters, hence the Aztecs will sacrifice both by the possibility of controlling these phenomena. Now his heirs have discovered the most efficient way to extract the 'cloud juice', converting scientific techniques to be reality that was only reserved for the gods before.

Date Of Update: 09 February 2022, 13:44

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