by: Victor Boesen
It is the year 2000. For the farmers of the Great Plains, as so often in the past, it would be a year of disaster for lack of rain-except that this time, thanks to the perfected art of long-range weather forecasting, the farmers know the drought is coming and are ready for it.
When the rain-bearing clouds approach, which used to leave only a few teasing drops behind, banks of silver iodide generators are ignited. From their spouts pour quintillions of silver iodide particles, drifting upward on the rising currents. Entering the clouds, the tiny particles attract moisture, be- coming "seeds" for raindrops-and it rains.
In prospect, too, this year are an unusual number of tornadoes, those spinning windstorms that once added violent ruin to the quiet deadliness of drought. But nobody is worried. In the year 2000, man knows about the inner nature of tornadoes. When the conditions that produce them are seen to be collecting, as reported by a nationwide network of lookout stations, the conditions are broken up, much as the police disperse a crowd before it makes trouble. Again, the magic tool is silver iodide.
In this new century one no longer reads of Gulf Coast Atlantic seaboard cities bracing for the lash of Caribbean hurricanes. With the skilled use of silver iodide, hurricanes are nipped in the making, slowed up, or turned harmlessly back to sea.
Hailstorms, which at one time caused so much destruction to the crops, likewise have been tamed. Line squalls, those onrushing black walls of wind, rain, and fury, have been gentled. The lightning has been blunted, the gale slowed, fog dispersed.
In brief, as the twenty-first century dawns, Mark Twain's legendary complaint that everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it has at last been satisfied: Something finally has been done about the weather.