A carpet of snow blanketing the Forbidden City and the ancient halls and courtyards of the Lama Temple has transformed China’s capital into a fairyland. Hundreds have played truant from offices to sneak a peak of the first snowfall of the winter.
But nature has been given a helping hand. The heavy snowfalls over Beijing have principally been induced by meteorological offices to try to mitigate the most severe drought to grip northern China in nearly half a century.
City officials have been blasting chemicals into clouds over northern China to create the first precipitation in more than 100 days. The first flurries fell on the capital on Tuesday. By yesterday, more than 500 cigarette-sized sticks of silver iodide had been seeded into clouds above Beijing from 28 rocket-launch bases around the city, said the Beijing Weather Modification Command Centre.
But this was still nowhere near enough to alleviate the drought that is threatening wheat harvests in several northern provinces.