News reaches me of a local organisation called AVIAL, based in Zurgena. (Asociacion en defensa de la salud y el medio ambiente y contra sistemas anti-lluvias en Almeria). A good job they decided to abbreviate their name….
The point of the organisation is to mount a neighbourhood defense against the practice of agricultural cloud seeding, where insurance companies and agricultural cooperatives pay for planes to “seed” clouds with silver particles, which makes the clouds precipitate at will.
AVIAL claims that the practise, apart from destroying the natural pattern of rain, causes acid rain and leaves carniogenic particles in the air for local residents to breath in. AVIAL says that this has been ongoing in the province since 1978 with little or no regulation by the authorities. The practise is wide spread in Spain.
The theory is simple. When meterologists decide that the time is right, a light aircraft flies through dense clouds and scatters “condensation nuclei”, usually silver particles, in an effort to cause the condensation within the cloud to collect and cause the rain, or hail, to start unusually early. This can cause the rain / hail to fall in an area where it will do less damage, instead of over crop growing areas. The Russians and the Chinese love this and do it before major state events.
Technically this is illegal if not carried out under orders from the State, but it seems that not one prosecution has ever been carried out in Spain, despite quite a number of denuncias from environmental organisations.
The association has decided to start carrying out a number of informational campaigns across the province to try to raise citizen awareness of these activities, in an effort to bring more regulation into the sector.
The committee of AVIAL seems to be a number of ex-industry workers and local scientists, so I assume they know what they’re talking about. Apparantly the insurance companies and agricultural cooperatives try to make clouds rain in order to prevent heavy deluges or hailstorms on top of crop growing areas. AVIAL says that cloud seeding is accelerating desertification in the province, causing damage to local aquifers and leading Almeria into an ecological disaster.