Cloud-Creating Laser Could Trigger Rain On Demand

German scientists, working in a controlled lab environment, have successfully used a laser to create clouds. The next step is a simple one: Use this technology to create clouds and rain on demand in the skies over Germany.

The video below is of the controlled experiment, during which scientists shoot a laser beam packing a 220-millijoule wallop into a chamber filled with water-saturated -24 C° air. The result was clouds.

Click to view

A real-world test has already shown limited results, and now the scientists want more:

Kasparian counters that results from repeating the experiment in the skies of Berlin suggest the effect can work under natural conditions. His team sent pulses into the autumn sky, focussed 60 metres up. Nothing could be seen with the naked eye, but weather LIDAR, which uses lasers to measuring light scattering in the atmosphere, confirmed that the density and size of water droplets spiked when the laser was fired.

What could go wrong, right? Nefarious dictators and people with sinister-looking mustaches were reportedly stroking said facial hair maliciously at the news. [New Scientist]