The weather affects all of us. An unexpected downpour or hot spell can be annoying, but when conditions are more extreme, it can severely impact agriculture, transport infrastructure and our homes. It's no surprise that for centuries scientists have tried to control the weather – but is it really possible?
Due to climate change, there are more regular occurrences of heatwaves, which cause droughts, and torrential rain, which is responsible for flooding. Although humans are the cause of much of it, maybe we have a solution too? For example, China, the UAE and the USA are at the forefront of research into methods of producing rain in drought-stricken areas. And some scientists are even thinking about investigating technologies which could cool the entire planet.
It might sound like science fiction, but weather modification is nothing new. In the 1940s, scientists discovered that dropping particles of silver iodide into cloud tops, made the tiny water droplets condense and could stimulate precipitation. That's called cloud seeding. This is a technique still being tested today with the aim of producing extra rainfall and, therefore, water for drought-affected farmers.
Other ideas for keeping nature at bay include using lasers to generate clouds and for controlling thunderstorms. One idea involved firing laser pulses into thunderclouds in an attempt to suck out lightning in a controlled manner. This was unsuccessful. New research into solar geoengineering has also begun. This type of climate engineering involves sunlight being reflected back to space to limit or reverse human-caused climate change.
Despite all this ongoing research, there's no conclusive evidence that our weather can be controlled. Chris Bell, a lecturer in meteorology at the University of East Anglia, told BBC Future: "We may, one day, have the technology to control the weather, but it will be in thousands, not hundreds, of years." So, for now, we still need to rely on Mother Nature to control our weather.
hot spell 一段短暂持续的高温天气
climate change 气候变化
torrential rain 倾盆大雨
weather modification 人工影响天气
silver iodide 碘化银
cloud seeding （为进行人工降雨而作的）播云
solar geoengineering 太阳地球工程
Mother Nature 大自然
下篇 【中英文】Contribute, contribution, contributor 词根相同，词义不同