China Continues to use Cloud Seeding Drones to Combat Drought and Extreme Heat Waves

The stimulation of precipitation is a strategy that is carried out today using this type of technology to mitigate the consequences of climate change. China's projections are ambitious.

Dones Wing Loong-2H China
Drones are used both for planting clouds and for collecting research data. Source: AVIC.

The Asian giant, China, has been using drones for several years in the planting of clouds for crops that require a considerable amount of water, cities with low temperatures and also on special occasions, as happened during the 2022 Olympic Games.

During that year, high temperatures forced the local governments of Sichuan and Chongqing to implement cuts in energy used for plantations and industries.

The heat waves and extreme drought experienced by some regions of China have caused the use of air conditioning to increase, generating a significant decrease in the hydroelectric reserves of the communities that depend on it.

In October 2022, the China State Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) announced that the Wing Loong-2H drone had successfully executed the cloud planting operation in the mountainous region of Qinghai in Tibet.

During the test flight, the Wing Loong-2H flew for 5 hours and managed to record an increase in precipitation in an area of 15,000 km2.

It is worth mentioning that, at that time, the AVIC had the objective of advancing the construction of other drone units to create a broader meteorological observation system that was efficient in planting clouds.

The drone was recently launched in Guizhou province, located in southwest China, to increase the amounts of water dropped and collect data that is useful in future research.

China projects that its drones will have artificial intelligence, big data and industrial internet

In December 2023, the Global Times portal reported that China's Wing Loong drone series was exploring a new development route due to the performance observed in foreign markets and the usefulness of rescues during domestic emergencies.

Wing Loong-2H China
The design of drones to stimulate clouds considers low cost, high productivity, energy efficiency, among others. Source: AVIC.

"In the future, drones will be integrated with new technologies that include 5G connection, industrial internet, artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. That way we want to promote highly efficient applications in more fields such as scientific research, mapping and logistics," Li Yidong, chief designer of AVIC, told Global Times.

Compared to their foreign counterparts, Wing Loong-2H drones have technical advantages of long-resistance, customization and support. They also have considerable environmental adaptability and are expandable, Li Yidong said.

"The unmanned team is expected to be integrated with AI and help humans in their missions by sharing the workload, but the decision factor still belongs to humans and not to machines," Yan Jiazhi, AVIC's technology expert, tells Global Times.

In addition, Yan Jiazhi mentions that "drones and piloted planes complement each other," alluding to the fat that each one has its advantages originating mutual support in the work and vision they have for the medium and long term.

References of the news:
- Drones R. Africa. Drones trigger precipitation for heat-stricken Sichuan, China (2022).
- Aeroflap. China announces drone capable of making artificial rain and snow (2022).
- Global Times. China´s Wing Loong drones to see more applications, become more intelligent: chief designer (2023).
- The Vanguard. China continues to test the drones that "caue" rain (2024).