Pluviculture is the study or activity of rainmaking.
In the early 1900s, a man named Charles Hatfield pursued rainmaking with a combination of unknown chemicals he released into the sky with at least some success.
Probably, he knew just enough about the weather to place himself in a location where rain was about to fall already, then go through his antics of ‘rainmaking’ and wait for the rain to fall.
Centuries before that, the ancient Chinese are believed to have had a method of rainmaking based on firing rockets into the sky.
The whole idea is based on something called ‘cloud seeding’.
A chemist named Vincent Schaefer developed the idea while studying cloud formation in 1946.
He is regarded as the modern inventor of cloud seeding, although the practice apparently goes back much further.
The basic idea is to inject something into the atmosphere, causing water vapor to condense into tiny droplets and then into clouds.
Hopefully, the clouds will eventually produce rain.
Often, substances like silver iodide, potassium iodide and even dry ice are used.
Even common table salt has been used.
There is a catch, however.
Moisture must be present in the atmosphere to begin with.
No matter how much ‘seeding’ is done, it won’t work without at least some available water in the air.
So, if there is persistent drought and the air is arid, the process simply won’t work.
On the other hand, if enough moisture is available, studies have indicated that cloud seeding can enhance rainfall by as much as 10 percent.
Even then, that’s only if it’s probably going to rain anyway.
You’ll just get more rain than you would without the seeding.
This brings us back to the old rainmakers.
To me, it sounds like they were increasing the chances of rain by shooting something into the sky, even though it was probably going to rain anyway.