|UND professors, students seed, track clouds for research project|
Students from the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and two of their professors are seeding clouds in North Dakota so they can monitor the resulting precipitation for a project called the "Polarimetric Cloud Analysis and Seeding Test 2 (POLCAST2).
The professors, Tony Grainger and David Delene, said the intent is to understand if seeding clouds will increase precipitation and how the precipitation process actually works. The project will continue for the next nine months.
The UND students and researchers fly out at a moment's notice to follow clouds and weather fronts to seed the skies before a rain event.
"The project here at UND puts these students ahead when it comes to career opportunities in the field," Delene said. "Giving them an opportunity in this field-measurement campaign will bring about further opportunity in the atmospheric sciences field."
Delene emphasized there are factors that must be considered when critically looking at the process. "Rainfall is very localized. If we seed one area, for example, it is not going to affect another area," he said. "A research project of our size would not affect moisture levels in the atmosphere from one area to another.
"Moreover, many large cities already have an unintentional way of affecting clouds in the atmosphere through pollution that's made up of fine particles."
The students, Christopher Kruse, Kelsey Watkins, Matt Ham, Robert Mitchell, Dan Koller and Dan Adriaansen, will help Grainger and Delene fly into rainfall and analyze the data afterward. The research project is a cooperative effort involving UND, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Weather Modification Incorporated (WMI) and Ice Crystal Engineering (ICE). It's sponsored by the North Dakota Atmospheric Resource Board.