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|FREAK snowstorms and record low
temperatures sweeping northern China are linked to global warming,
say Chinese officials.
But this week's dump appears to have no link to the Chinese
Government's relentless efforts to manipulate the weather, which
have prompted decades of experiments designed to modify the
Beijing's first attempt at weather modification involved a
fighter-bomber dumping 200 kilograms of dry ice or common kitchen
salt - depending on the source - into the clouds to break a drought
in 1958, following an edict from Mao Zedong.
Today, China has about 2000 weather modification offices, which bomb
the skies with silver iodide to induce rain.
No officials have claimed credit for inducing or amplifying the snow
dump, in contrast to November 1, when Beijing recorded its earliest
winter snowfall in 22 years.
The Beijing Weather Modification Office later admitted that it had
fired 186 rockets into the air to break the drought.
The office also claimed some credit for turning oppressive smog into
a brilliant blue sky just in time for China's National Day military
parade on October 1.
And it blasted the sky with 1104 rockets to keep the rain at bay for
2008's Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.
The Southern Weekend newspaper reported that the program had
previously been halted in 1980, after a decade in which 169 people
were killed and 410 injured due to unspecified weather
Beijing winters are normally cold but arid, with only a a light
dusting of snow. On Sunday, the city experienced up to 33
centimetres of snow, its biggest dump since 1951, immediately
followed by the harshest Siberian winds in decades.
Yesterday more than 2 million Beijing and Tianjin students received
the day off school because traffic had been thrown into chaos.
Tomorrow morning the mercury is forecast to plunge to minus 16 - a
40-year low - following a daytime maximum of minus 8.
The head of the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, Guo Hu, linked this
week's blizzard-like conditions to unusual atmospheric patterns
caused by global warming.
Russia's far-eastern island of Sakhalin has also been paralysed by
five days of blizzards and avalanches, cutting off links to the
mainland and burying a train, along with three railway workers,
under snow drifts three metres deep.
Blizzards hit the island off the eastern coast of Siberia on New
Year's Eve, when an avalanche forced a diesel locomotive and
snowplough off their tracks, and continued on Friday, when three
workers sent to repair the damage were swept up, according to the
Russian state news service RIA Novosti.