“Global Geographies of Weather Modification in an Era of Climate Change”
Emily Yeh, professor of geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder, will present “Global Geographies of Weather Modification in an Era of Climate Change.”
As climate change impacts intensify, the practice of cloud seeding to induce precipitation and otherwise modify the weather is on the rise around the world. In 2018, for example, seven states in the western United States entered into the Colorado River Basin Weather Modification Agreement to seek to augment snowpack. In response to unprecedented drought on the Yangtze River in summer 2022, the Chinese government stepped up its already extensive weather modification efforts. Moreover, intensified weather modification efforts have contributed to geopolitical tensions. Weather modification is also associated in the public imagination with solar radiation management, a highly controversial form of geoengineering.
Despite the importance of weather modification in the context of climate change, it has not attracted much attention from geographers. Through the lens of several geographical concepts, Yeh considers practices of weather modification in the US, China, and the United Arab Emirates. These include China’s “Sky River” project that promised to seed clouds to move rain across the Tibetan Plateau.
Emily T. Yeh is the author of Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development, and co-editor of Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands, and Rural Politics in Contemporary China.
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