If we want to disperse a new agent for cloud seeding in the air, we have to consider the legislation around this product and around cloud seeding in general. This is what we investigated in module legislation. We also focused on the possibility for cloud seeding in certain countries where this technique is already performed.
Legislation of bacterial ghosts
Bacterial ghosts are not considered as genetically manipulated organisms (GMO’s). Although the use of plasmid encoded genetic information is essential for the formation of them, bacterial ghosts are non-living and devoid of genetic information Lubitz, P., Mayr, U. B., & Lubitz, W., 2009. This is a great benefit for safety, as no DNA can be transferred to other bacteria by horizontal gene transfer. Not only is this a big advantage regarding safety protocols, but also for the legislation of our product. Another benefit of our bacterial ghosts is that the proteins on their membrane are found in nature. So, this means that with regard to legislation, it is more important to look if the process of cloud seeding is allowed in a certain area. When performing cloud seeding in the USA, it is mandatory to report any weather modification activities to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). However, before we even could disperse our product in the air, a toxicological analysis would be necessary in every country.
Possibility of cloud seeding
Nowadays, there are already a lot of countries that have programmes to do research or even perform cloud seeding processes. The Chinese government used cloud seeding during the Olympic games in 2008 held in Beijing, China Jacob Silverman & Robert Lamb, 2007. They wanted to have a dry Olympic season and it actually worked then. It is not so surprising that China has the largest cloud seeding system because they believe that it increases the amount of rain over several increasingly arid regions, including its capital city, Beijing. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) invests a lot of money in cloud seeding research so they can use this technology to create artificial rain. However, in January 2020, a cloud seeding experiment done by the UAE National Centre of Meteorology & Seismology as part of The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, resulted in flooding. This shows that there are also some drawbacks regarding the use of this technology, just like with every other process. The technology could be a (part of a) solution for countries who face severe water scarcity Joe Fontana, 2013. Most of the time those countries have a desert or maritime climate, such as Kuwait, Singapore or Israel. In all those countries cloud seeding is already accepted. Nowadays there are even countries on each continent who have cloud seeding programs, some regional some national.
Because of the different climates all over the world Andrew Maddocks, Robert Samuel Young & Paul Reig, 2015, a difference is made between two types of cloud seeding namely cold cloud seeding (glaciogenic seeding) or warm cloud seeding (hygroscopic seeding). Glaciogenic seeding is done in clouds where super-cooled water, so below freezing point, is present. This is done with the use of silver iodide or dry ice Bruintjes, R. T., 1999. For example, countries like China, Israel, Canada, Bulgaria, Slovenia and also Germany already apply this technology in their cloud seeding projects. Since our biological product is mainly an alternative for silver iodide, it can be used in these areas. Hygroscopic seeding on the other hand, is done by the addition of salt particles like sodium, magnesium and/or calcium chlorides. There are even countries who utilise rather salts as particles in their projects. For instance, Thailand, UAE, Russia and Australian researchers conduct research on both hygroscopic as glaciogenic seeding. This is a relative new technique, but it should be possible to use our bacterial ghost here too although it would be less effective. This means that even a wider range is possible for the use of an ecological variant of cloud seeding.
A little history of cloud seeding
Of all-natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning strikes, hail and flooding, drought has to be one of the worst, especially for agriculture. "Drought," cited by Frank Kaufmann from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "is the most serious physical hazard to agriculture in nearly every part of the world." Frank Kaufmann, 2017 Consequentially, people have always wanted to influence rainfall. It probably started way back with the sacred traditions of indigenous people Azriel ReShel, 2020. This ancient art of rainmaking was once practiced all around the world. Different tribes had different traditions practiced by so called rainmakers. Among the best-known examples of weather modification rituals are North American rain dances, which were performed by many Native American tribes, particularly in the South West area of the country. Also offering animal remains and the lit of fires is commonly done in certain parts of Africa. Nowadays, the art of rainmaking is still practiced in a few places in Africa, Australia, New Zealand and wherever some knowledge of the old way remains.
However, the first real cloud seeding experiments did not happen until 1890 James Franklin Lee Jr. 2014. It was the so called "Melbourne the Rain Wizard" who practiced rainmaking by releasing mysterious gases into the air in western Kansas Kansas Historical Society, 2010. His project was not a success, but people still believed that rainmaking was a possibility for their drought-related problems. Some even treated it as an actual science. Though, it wasn’t even until 1946 that Vincent Schaefer discovered a successful process by just breathing into a deep freeze chamber containing dry ice. His breath created a cloud and soon after this he observed millions of microscopic ice crystals. Schaefer was using the dry ice as artificial nuclei in order to create these new ice crystals from the bluish haze. That same year Bernard Vonnegut discovered that the process could also be performed with silver iodide (AgI) Joe Fontana, 2013. AgI is until this day the most common chemical used in cloud seeding.