Happy couples always want the best weather guaranteed on their wedding days – and now a firm is offering to make sure rain does not spoil the occasion.
Scientists will ‘cloud seed’ the skies around the venue in the days approaching the wedding to wring out any rain that may ruin the party – and photographs.
Wealthy families are paying from £100,000 to guarantee perfect weather for weddings in France – and the company arranging them wants to spread the service to Britain and Italy as well.
Cloud seeding was invented in the 1940s in the USA when scientists Vincent Schaefer conjured up a blizzard in a freezer from super cooled ice droplets.
Science fiction predicted cloud seeding would see the end of forest fires and that every Christmas would be a white.
Science fact or fiction?
Science fact was more dubious about the results – until now.
Last year 55 countries tested cloud seeding and the results are still controversial.
After 77 cloud seeding flights in March 2016, Dubai saw the highest level of rain recorded since 1977.
Meteorologists measured 287mm of rain falling between Dubai and Al Ain in just one day.
The downpour was so heavy flights were cancelled, schools closed and thunderstorms damaged buildings in Abu Dhabi.
Average annual rainfall for the area is generally around 120mm.
The problem is rain would still have fallen without the seeding, but the scientists don’t know how much, so cannot say how much the operation affected the weather.
How cloud seeding works
“Cloud seeding works if the seeding material is injected into the right place in a cloud,” said Dave Reynolds, a meteorologist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It will enhance precipitation – which is snowfall as well as rainfall. We found seeding increased snowfall by between 5% and 15% in an experiment across mountains in Wyoming.”
To seed a weather system, skilled pilots take planes with flares into the heart of clouds system and fire the flares loaded with chemical cocktails.
To make snow, silver iodide is dispersed. As the flakes drop through the clouds, water droplets attach to them which freeze quickly and then fall as snow.
In warmer countries, the flares are stuffed with salt and potassium. The principle is the same as cold weather seeding. As the salt drops through the cloud, moisture clings to the flakes and then falls as rain.