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The cloud seeding technique was accidentally discovered by Vincent Joseph Schaefer (1906-1993) at a GE lab in Schenectady. Schaefer was interested in how ice forms on wings as planes pass through clouds. He used a home freezer to create clouds. One day in 1946, he added dry ice to his "cloud hatchery" to cool the internal temperature down.
Interestingly enough, Bernard Vonnegut (the brother of author Kurt Vonnegut) was an associate of Schaefer. He too was interested in the cloud seeding phenomenon. He suspected that if one could introduce a substance that was molecularly similar to ice, better results could be achieve. A literature search suggested silver iodide, which did indeed prove to be more effective than dry ice.
Bernard Vonnegut's earlier weather-related work was a project for the Army Signal Corps,
This was probably the basis for Vonnegut's famous Ice-Nine invention in Cat's Cradle.
The cold-cloud mechanism postulates the nucleation of ice particles in supercooled clouds followed by their growth by vapor diffusion
Recent studies show that convective clouds that ingest polluted cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) suppress precipitation in the warm layer due to the large concentration of small droplets and will precipitate more slowly than a similar cloud ingesting clean air, which forms small concentrations of larger droplets that coalesce faster into raindrops.
Planned research with hygroscopic seeding in Texas was conducted in 2005 utilizing the SOAR research aircraft and its crew. Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld and Dr. William Woodley identified a patented means of processing common salt (NaCl) to virtually any desired size
During SPECTRA II Drs. Woodley and Rosenfeld together with the SOAR crew conducted several hygroscopic seeding experiments using milled salt released from an agricultural aircraft. SF6 gas was released in updraft from the cloud-base seeder simultaneous with the release of the hygroscopic salt powder. The gas was detected on subsequent passes, indicating that the aircraft had penetrated the seeded plume.