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With the Western Cape and large parts of the country in the grip of severe water shortages, why is the prospect of cloud seeding not under consideration?

Cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols, into the upper part of clouds to try to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.

Nico Kroese, manager, prediction and observation research at South African Weather Service talks to Africa Melane about the possibility of cloud seeding, the process of enhancing rainfall from clouds that is practiced in other parts of the world.

South Africa had a rich history in rainfall enhancement research, but funding was stopped in 2000. Since then no further research has been conducted. He says SA has participated in initiatives overseas.

The type of rain that we get in the Western Cape is unfortunately not conducive for rainfall enhancement.

Nico Kroese, South African Weather Service

He explains that the focus in South Africa has been on convective storms to enhance the rainfall from thunder clouds and storms, and the rainfall in the Cape is from frontal systems.

Maybe some good news is that at this stage we are on the brink of entering into the winter season so I am positive that for the coming winter season the Western Cape will receive enough rain to supplement the dams.

Nico Kroese, South African Weather Service

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