cloud seeding

Drones are increasingly being used to study the effects of wildfires. This drone is collecting data from a large prescribed burn earlier this year at the Fishlake National Forest in Utah.
Desert Research Institute

From more intense wildfires to prolonged droughts, climate change is impacting the ecology of the American West. That’s got researchers in our region looking at a new way to fight some of these impacts: drones.

Researchers Testing Cloud Seeding With Drones

Mar 16, 2016
Julia Ritchey

A month after researchers conducted a cloud-seeding test using unmanned aircraft, a Reno-based drone company is building the next generation. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, the project hopes to bring cloud seeding into the 21st century.

Inside the shop at Drone America, design engineer Kyle Pruett is showing off their plans for a new unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft called the Savant.

Kevin Clifford / Drone America

The Desert Research Institute has successfully tested an unmanned drone flight that could help lessen the impact of drought. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick breaks down what that means.

 

Cloud seeding is a practice in which tiny amounts of ice crystals and chemicals are released into the atmosphere to promote more moisture and precipitation during storms. 

Adam Watts is with the DRI and led the project team, which equipped an unmanned aircraft with a cloud seeding payload. He says drones can be an effective supplement to traditional ground and aerial efforts.