Cloud seeding and bird migration?


Noah Arthur
 

Has there been any research on the impacts of cloud seeding on migratory birds?
Silver iodide cloud seeding has been done in the U.S. West for decades, but has increased in 2020-21 due to extreme drought conditions and recent studies showing that it does actually work. Mexico is also seeding clouds with *acetone* this year. Coincidentally -- or not -- spring migration in the West this year has been extremely unusual. Migrants and breeders are simply not arriving in normal numbers in many areas, while many winter birds are leaving late or not at all. Eastern vagrants are also nearly absent from our coast this spring. The drought itself has been blamed for these unprecedented changes; however, I'm skeptical of this theory. Breeding birds aren't just failing to breed -- many are not arriving on the breeding grounds at all, especially in the interior West. I don't think drought conditions on the ground would would stop birds traveling high in the air from getting to where they should go. So I suspect the culprit may be something happening up in the atmosphere.

I wonder if the increase in cloud seeding is responsible for the unprecedented changes in bird migration we're seeing in the West this spring. Could it be that birds are not migrating as far as they normally would, because they can't or won't fly through plumes of silver iodide and acetone in the atmosphere?


And another discussing cloud seeding in Mexico:



Noah Arthur (Oakland)