Friday, February 20, 2009

A Softly Fallen, Silent Shroud of Seeded Snow

Friend and alert reader Rod sent me a link to this article, which explains the light coating of snow in Beijing the morning I left. I read a story on the drought in China Daily on the plane over, but it focused on payments to affected farmers and programs to increase irrigation. Though I suppose cloud-seeding does increase irrigation.
Since the Government calculated that the city had gone for more than 100 days without a drop of rain, residents have been complaining to one another about how the snowfalls that were a common occurrence even into the 1980s appeared to have halted, as drought and desertification have marched towards the city from the Gobi desert.

This bit is curious to me, as it rained persistently on my visit to Tianenmen Square and the Forbidden City on Thursday, five days before the seeded snow:

Tanner was amazed by the weather, and kept assuring me that it rains maybe once a month in Beijing. The snow apparently was an added attraction for tourists, according to the article, especially local tourists--I would imagine foreigners want clear, sunny skies and moderate temperatures.
An administrative official at the Forbidden City said: “Tourists will come in any weather, no matter if it snows or rains - people come anyway.”... A spokesman for the Badaling section of the Great Wall, about an hour from Beijing, said twice as many tourists as usual had come out to view the snow-covered site. “Even though it wasn't the weekend, about 4,000 tourists still showed up yesterday to watch the snow ... the scene is spectacular,” he said.

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