Abstract: The Efficacy and Impacts of Cloud Seeding in Ski Industry

Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification which attempts to increase cloud formation and precipitation over a given target area. This is accomplished through the dispersal of aerosol particles which can then serve as nuclei for ice crystals. While the principle of cloud seeding has been around since the 1940’s, research into its effectiveness has been sparse until very recently. Additionally, there is very little evidence on whether cloud seeding is an environmentally sound pursuit. Many cloud seeding practices rely on silver and potassium salts which in high concentrations can have a negative impact on many ecosystems and human health. The goal of this research project would be to test the efficacy of cloud seeding by examining changes in snowfall accumulations at ski areas in the Wasatch mountains that employ cloud seeding techniques. Additionally, the accumulation of these chemicals in high alpine lakes will be tested and compared to background chemical levels to determine if they pose any potential health impacts to local populations and ecosystems.

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