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Time to start operational cloud seeding program.



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Time to start operational cloud seeding program 16-August-2010 Source: John Forrest, MP -

The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest says it is now time for the Snowy Hydro Cloud Seeding Project to become a permanent operation.

Mr Forrest said a report in June indicating increased snowfalls from the cloud seeding trials vindicated his belief that cloud seeding was a legitimate science.

A Cooma Monaro Shire resolution this month to support the immediate transition of the project from a scientific trial to an ongoing operation was “another step forward in this important project”.

“Cooma Monaro Shire and local businesses benefit from the winter ski season, and 14 percent more snow will have a significant positive impact on the local economy especially given the concerns over climate change,” Mr Forrest said. It will also benefit downstream water users in the Murray Valley.

“The big issue for Australia is that while there are runs on the board overseas, cloud seeding has had little support within Australia, where the need for rain enhancement remains critical today, particularly in south eastern Australia.”

Mr Forrest said independent evaluation of the Snowy Hydro Cloud Seeding Project trial had shown that under suitable conditions, there was a 14 percent increase in snowfall in seeded storms, and that there was no adverse impact on areas downwind of the cloud seeding target area.

Two independent reviews of the results found the research to be sound, noting a “…careful, rigorous and wide ranging evaluation of an experiment that was well designed” and “particularly well executed”, and importantly, that “..the evaluation can be accepted with confidence.”

“In addition, environmental monitoring has shown no evidence of any adverse environmental impacts,” Mr Forrest said. “Special tracing agents were employed for accurate measurement.

“Documents regarding the research can be downloaded from www.snowyhydro.com.au, and a report I wrote in 2002, Harvesting the Skies can be found at http://www.jforrest.com/pdf/Harvesting_the_Skies.pdf.

“Harvesting the Skies was prepared after a study tour to the United States, and particularly Texas where extensive rain enhancement programs have been underway for more than 30 years.”

Mr Forrest said there was a belief there was insufficient moisture in Australian continental clouds.

“Snowy Hydro’s winter cloud seeding research project, Snowy Precipitation Enhancement Research Project (SPERP), was to determine the technical, economic and environmental feasibility of increasing snow fall over the Snowy Mountains,” he said. I’m extremely pleased to see that, in fact, there has been a precipitation gain, and this has happened over country typical of the Murrumbidgee and Murray’s most important catchment area.”

Cooma Monaro Shire Council is writing to the NSW Government requesting necessary changes be made to the Snowy Mountains Cloud Seeding Trial Act 2004 (NSW) as soon as possible to allow Snowy Hydro to move to a full operation where all suitable winter storms could be seeded.