The Winter Olympics Could Highlight China’s Innovative — and Troubling — Attempts to Control the Weather

© Thomas Peter/Reuters The Winter Olympics could highlight China’s innovative — and troubling — efforts to control the weather

When Americans tune in to NBC to watch the Beijing Olympics next week, they could see some of the bluest skies and whitest slopes the Winter Games has ever known.

China, after all, will make sure of it.

As the skiers slalom and snowboarders snowcross, the Chinese government is likely to be working hard behind the scenes on a perhaps even trickier feat: controlling the weather. The country is expected to activate departments like the Beijing Weather Modification Office, a division of the portentously named China Meteorological Association Weather Modification Center. Both are long-established government bureaus whose powers have recently been expanded to encompass more actions across larger territory.

In keeping with tradition at the last few Games, China is already turning millions of gallons of water into fake snow. But weather interventions take on a more cosmic cast. The government could step in to try to create rain, disperse storms and even turn the sky blue. “The Truman Show” may have nothing on the Beijing Organizing Committee.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Steven Zeitchik