Over the past decades we have been able to observe a change in the Earth’s climate, caused by an increasing amount of energy being retained in the atmosphere. This in turn has affected weather systems around the globe, causing more extreme weather. As a result, the prospect of weather control is more relevant than ever for the nations which are most directly impacted by severe rain and winds. Although the concept of weather modification is not new, it used to be primarily focused on rather limited aspects, such as cloud seeding to increase precipitation.
Recent proposals such as Japan’s weather modification moonshot program seek to find ways to prevent or lessen the impact of torrential rains, typhoons and similar extreme weather events which accompany climate change. This proposal is part of Japan’s multi-topic Moonshot R&D program which seeks to advance the state of the art in a wide range of fields in a very significant way by 2050. As far as weather modification is concerned, this naturally raises many questions. Clearly we are capable of affecting the climate through emissions of e.g. greenhouse gases and large-scale construction, but are there ways in which humans can affect the climate and weather in a more refined manner that benefits society, or is this something which will remain beyond our grasp for the foreseeable future?