Canada's Prairie Region: Cloud Seeded Regularly for 14 Years

Geoff Boyle

In September of 1991, an intense HP super cell dropped large hail (recorded as baseball sized) over 130 square kilometers in and around Calgary. The storm lasted 30mins and caused over $400 million dollars in damage. A month earlier, another hailstorm caused $50 million dollars in damage.

Trying to prevent another backlog of expensive insurance claims, a group of insurance companies arranged to have certain regions of the 3 Prairie Provinces cloud seeded. This has been going on for 14 years. Even though the insurance companies say that they have been successful, some local farmers disagree. While some say that tampering with the environment is unsafe, one farmer says the hailstorms have been pushed farther east.

I wanted to see what you guy’s thought about the practice, and the possibility of cloud seeding effecting the environment in a negative way. Personally, from looking at Environment Canada's records, I think the cloud seeding has been totally ineffective. $532 million in insurance claims, due to hailstorms alone, have been paid out between 1992 and 1998.
I know their is currently another cloud seeding project ongoing in Southwest Texas...the Southern Ogallala Aquifer Rainfall (SOAR) Project. They are attempting to produce more rainfall for farms in southwest Texas. Their efforts are centered around Plains, TX, about 60 miles SW of Lubbock.

I believe another project took place in Oklahoma a few years ago. I have no idea whether that effort is still ongoing or not.

I haven't heard much about any proven and substantial results from cloud seeding....other than that it's really expensive. If anyone else has heard anything, please share. I'd be interesting in knowing.
Theres one up around the Dakotas too, also to provide water for farmers, I think. It ran this last summer at least, from what I remember. Dont know what the results were.
Western Kansas has an active cloud seeing program as far as I know. I personally have never seen a storm I have been on being seeded, im pretty sure the program is active though.
The biggest problem is that results are so hard to prove. There is no way to know whether or not the seeded cloud produced more precip than if it had gone unseeded. It is impossible to prove if you modified the weather.