Cloud seeding enhances snowfall over the Snowy Mountains during the cold months, increasing the amount of water available to produce clean, renewable energy.
Snowy Hydro’s Cloud Seeding Program increases precipitation by an average of 14%. It currently targets an area of 2,110 square kilometres.
Glaciogenic cloud seeding is a weather modification technique. It involves the introduction of a seeding agent into suitable clouds to encourage the formation and growth of ice crystals. This enhances the amount of snow falling from the cloud.
Snowy Hydro’s Cloud Seeding Program began as a trial in 2004. An independent scientific evaluation of the trial found cloud seeding increased precipitation by an average of 14% and that there were no adverse impacts on rainfall downwind of the target area. The evaluation was supported by two scientific peer reviews and published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology.
An extensive environmental monitoring program included the analysis of thousands of environmental samples, collected prior to and during the trial. The NSW Natural Resources Commission conducted an independent peer review of the evaluation and environmental monitoring program. It was found cloud seeding increased snowfall in the target area and there was no evidence of adverse environmental impacts.
In 2012, the NSW government legislated for an ongoing, operational cloud seeding program, to commence from the winter of 2013. Cloud seeding activities are authorised by the Snowy Mountains Cloud Seeding Act 2004 (Act) and in accordance with an approved Environmental Management Plan (EMP). The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is nominated to review compliance of cloud seeding operations with the Act and the EMP. Snowy Hydro reports annually on its cloud seeding operations to the NSW Government and EPA; click here to access the annual cloud seeding operations reports.