Learn the science behind cloud seeding in Avon Wednesday | VailDaily.com

Learn the science behind cloud seeding in Avon Wednesday

Erik Skeie, an intern for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, stands next to a radiometer.
Special to the Weekly |

If you go …

What: Science Behind Cloud Seeding.

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon.

Cost: $5 suggested donation.

More information: To register, call 970-827-9725. Reservations are required.

AVON — Cloud seeding, also known as weather modification, is a topic many of us know very little about, and there is a lot of mystery surrounding it. No, cloud seeding is not an urban legend, it really does exist, but it does not create “chemtrails” in the sky, either. Come to Walking Mountains Science Center on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to learn about what cloud seeding is, how it’s done, why it’s done and how it affects us locally.

Weather modification uses technology to enhance a cloud’s ability to produce precipitation. It can be used to increase rainfall, but in the West it is more often used to increase the winter snowpack to ensure a plentiful spring runoff. It is also used in some regions to mitigate hail storms and disperse fog. Two guest presenters will bring a wide variety of knowledge and experience to explain what cloud seeding was historically and what it is today.

Joe Busto is a native Coloradan. He works for the Colorado Water Conservation Board and has run the state’s weather modification permitting program since 2002. In addition to winter cloud seeding, he is also interested in snow science projects. He helps fund the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies Dust on Snow research, and he currently has a NOAA mobile radar creating precipitation estimates and NASA aerial snow observatory (airplane) mapping snow in Alamosa this winter. He has also deployed a radiometer in Eagle-Vail and is collecting cloud data to characterize cloud seeding potential at Vail and Beaver Creek.

The Wyoming Water Development Commission sponsored a nine-year, $14 million research experiment to see if cloud seeding works. Busto will also highlight the results of that study, which was completed at the end of 2014.

Dr. Ed Holroyd is an atmospheric research scientist and adjunct professor at the University of Denver. He trained under Dr. Vincent Schaefer, the founder of modern cloud seeding techniques. Holroyd developed his own “instant snowstorm” demonstration, which he will bring to Walking Mountains. This demonstration will allow participants to see how cloud seeding was originally discovered by scientists in the 1940s.

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Call Walking Mountains to attend. The Science Behind Series highlights useful and fun skills that have underlying scientific principles. Each class provides an interactive component with instruction from an expert. Classes are held once a month at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon.

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