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May 14, 2018
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November 17, 1978
Approved for Release: 2018/01/30 C06530719 National 1 Foreign ,� Assessment Center Current Intelligence Weekly Summary. 17 November 1973 "Secret�. -SeCret, CG C1WS 784)46 17 November 1978 Copy 0068 Approved for Release: 2018/01/30 C06530719 Approved for Release: 2018/01/30 C06530719 The USSR and China, the two most active countries in weather modification research, are planning significant increases in their programs in this field. USSR-China: Weather Modification Research Both the USSR and China have begun research that may lead to attempted modification of major storms, such as typhoons�experiments previously con- ducted only by the US. The quality of the Soviet research is excellent, but that of China is difficult to judge. Computer support for meteorological programs, in the past deficient in both countries, is now the focus of considerable attention. Soviet Program The Soviet program began in the early 1950s and is now several times larger in funding and personnel than the US civilian and military weather modification research programs combined. It is broad in scope and very competently staffed. Its expansion and improvement are likely to accelerate following the recent upgrading of the Hydrometeorological Service to state committee status. In its early years, the Soviet program concentrated on clearing fog and clouds from airports and then on hail suppression. The Soviets are currently exploring such areas as precipitation enhancement, thunderstorm dissipation, and lightning suppression. What is probably the largest Soviet project is intended to raise the level of Lake Sevan in Armenia by increasing rainfall over the watershed. In addition to standard cloud-seeding techniques, thc Soviets will employ a novel device called a meteotron, which uses several jet engines to create convection currents that carry moisture upward, creating clouds. Experimental design and instrumenta- tion appear to be the weakest areas of the Soviet program and probably will receive the greatest additional emphasis. The employment of better statistical methods to devise experiments and analyze the results would help alleviate the experi- mental design problem and improve verifi- cation techniques. The planned purchase of Western equipment, along with im- provements in Soviet-designed instru- ments, will help solve the instrumentation problem. In recent years, the Soviets have begun an intensive study of typhoons, and they may be seriously considering a typhoon- modification project similar to the US Project Stormfury, which was aimed at altering hurricanes in the Atlantic. This is the only major weather modification area in which the Soviets have not been active. Typhoons are not a major threat to the USSR, but research on the modification of these storms is of high current interest in weather modification research and development. Chinese Program Chinese experiments in weather modifi- cation started in the late 1950s and had become extensive by the 1970s. China recently established a new academy that includes the world's first known institute devoted solely to research on artificial weather changes, thus adding to other indications that the Chinese plan a significantly larger, more centralized, and more scientifically based program. China's new weather modification re- search institute will be part of the new Academy of Meteorological Sciences, and a rcscarch program extending to 1985 was developed at a recent national conference on weather modification. The program will include rainmaking, hail cloud and fog dispersal, and typhoon moderation. The new weather modification research institute will have a modern cloud and fog physics laboratory, centralizing research previously conducted at a variety of institutes, some under military control. Research on typhoon modification may be supported by ships collecting data in the Pacific. Early Chinese experiments in weather modification were limited mostly to efforts to improve weather conditions unfavorable for agriculture. By the 1970s, Chinese field experiments reportedly involved sev- eral million individuals throughout the country. Most of these experiments have been attempts to control or moderate drought and hail conditions using fireworks, crude rockets, cannon, networks of antiaircraft artillery, and ,aircraft, including radio- controlled model airplanes. Chinese military aircraft and ground units have often taken part in these agriculturally oriented weather experi- ments. The country's National Defense Scientific and Technical Commission re- portedly took over the control and funding of all weather modification research in 1969 and has a program of research at several military weather institutes. The Chinese have claimed significant successs in modifying the weather, but they have published no supporting data and there has been no verification by non- Chinese experts. There has pprobably in fact been little precise scientific control or monitoring of the Chinese experiments. China now appears to be planning a more scientific approach with improved seeding and test devices Page 15 WEEKLY SUMMARY 17 Nov 78 Approved for Release: 2018/01/30 C06530719