URUMQI, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has adopted weather modification practices to protect its vast farmland from natural disasters, like hailstorms and drought.
Weather modification practices helped reduce 70 percent of hail damage every year in the region, usually by firing silver iodine-packed shells into the sky to disrupt unfavorable weather fronts with hail cannons, officials said Tuesday at a conference on weather modification in Xinjiang airspace.
It also increased 900 million to 1.2 billion cubic meters of precipitation in drought-hit areas annually, said Jin Lyusheng, director of the weather modification office of the regional government.
Xinjiang has a specific climate and rugged topography with complicated natural disasters, especially hail. It damages farming, forestry and fruit growing, and husbandry in the region where agriculture is a major industry.
Currently, the area benefiting from weather modification in Xinjiang has increased from 340,000 square km to 500,000 square km, and the arable land area protected by hail cannons and other cloud seeding facilities has increased to 20,000 square km, according to Jin.