by Ritchie Cabahug-Aguhob
Cloud seeding operations to induce the occurrence of rain will be conducted in region 10, by the 900th Air Weather Group of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), starting Feb. 26, this year.
Included areas are the watershed of major reservoirs used for irrigation and in areas where the crop stage would require water, Regional Executive Director Lealyn A. Ramos of the Department of Agriculture, Chairperson of the El Niño Task Force in Northern Mindanao, said.
The priority areas, however, are those near the river basins of Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur and the Pulangi River in Bukidnon because of the need to bring to the required levels the water that drive the turbines of the hydro-electric plants in the area.
Both bodies of water have reached critical levels because of the recent dry spell due to the El Niño affecting the supply of electricity that resulted in the rotating brown-outs of the region, Ramos said.
To calculate the rain to fall in the target area, the wind direction, speed on the ground and winds aloft along with the type of cloud, air temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure below and cooling from above are considered in the operation.
In warm cloud seeding, the base of the cloud is 2,000 ft and the top varies from10,000 ft ? 15,000ft. with a towering cumulus cloud (TCU), a cloud with generally sharp outlines and with moderate to great vertical development, characterized by is cauliflower or tower appearance using Sodium Chloride (NaCl) or iodized salt.
Ramos, who accompanied some of the sorties, said so far, PAF’s 900th AWG will be in the region to perform cloud seeding operations for 70 flying hrs. with each sortie done at an average of one (1) hour and 30 min.
Mostly done in the morning to disperse some three (3) sacks of iodized salt for each sortie, about six (6) sorties have already been done by this special unit of the PAF, as of last Saturday, Feb. 27, she said.
Cloud seeding is a highly technical and hazardous endeavor, usually done to offset the insufficiency of rainfall reported over an area, while rainmaking is a scientific technology that produces artificial rain or a weather modification that makes rain during the summer season, Ramos said. (PIA 10)