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    Planners' heads are in the clouds
    Posted by Ken Farmer, Monday August 04 2008 @ 01:55PM EDT

    EETimes: Everyone talks about the weather, but the organizers of the Beijing Olympics are doing something about it.

    The Chinese government already moved the date of the games from late July to mid-August, to avoid the city's rainy season. According to China's traditional lunar calendar, Aug. 7 is the start of fall. After that date, the mercury traditionally drops, and hailstorms, heat waves and other climatic headaches are less likely to occur.

    Nevertheless, August remains one of the warmest and wettest months of the year in China. To help ensure the opening ceremony goes off without a weather hitch, Chinese officials will have a battery of cannons on standby for cloud seeding. The idea is to shoot silver iodide pellets into the clouds to direct any rainfall away from Olympic venues.

    Seeding clouds is a hit-or-miss technology, and so is forecasting the Beijing weather. But the Chinese are doing their best to eliminate the guesswork. The Beijing Meteorological Bureau has invested in an IBM supercomputer to help it gauge weather and air quality during the games. For good measure, the BMB will also house the latest forecasting systems from Australia, Canada, France, Japan and the United States.


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