And I’m not talking about that pesky butterfly that keeps making hurricanes. There’s an actual Weather Modification Office in Beijing, tasked with ending droughts, firefighting, and now making sure that the weather is nice for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games.
This came up in a special I just saw on CBC called, cleverly enough, “Beijing 2008″, about how China is preparing for the games. I love the Olympics, right down to the theme song (as has been well documented—it actual gives me goosebumps), so it was a good show for me.
Now, really all the Weather Modification Office can do is make it rain sooner rather than later, so if it looks like it’s going to rain on the opening ceremonies, they can seed the clouds and hopefully make it rain the day before instead. Something along those lines. It’s hard to say whether it actually works or not (it definitely won’t stop a big storm) but the Chinese government seems to be banking on it. They’ve guaranteed clear skies for the event.
If you’ve been reading anything about the games, you might have also heard that they’re cutting down on polluting cars. At first all I heard was that they’re just reducing numbers, but they’ve also got special cameras that, much like speed cameras can detect how fast you’re going so the police can pull you over, can detect how much pollution a car is giving out. And just like speeding, they pull you over and can even ban the car from the road. All in the hopes that marathon runners (among others) will have clear(er) air to breathe this summer.
So yes, China controls the weather.