Report on Artificial Rainmaking
HARLAN D. SHOPE*
During recent months the International Paper
Company has employed the firm of Wallace E. Howell
Associates to conduct a series of rainmaking operations.
It is the object of this paper to report on the following
aspects of the operations as viewed by the paper
(1) Is rainmaking feasible?
(2) Is rainmaking considered to be necessary?
(3) Periods and locations of cloud seeding or rain-
(4) Results of rainmaking;
(6) Insurance coverage.
Each of these factors is discussed in the paragraphs
which follow. The technical and scientific aspects of
cloud seeding, or cloud stimulation, will then be pre-
sented in the paper following this one.
(1) Is rainmaking feasible? The International
Paper Company made a study of cloud-seeding opera-
tions in the United States and Cuba for nearly two
years before it awarded a contract to Wallace E.
Howell Associates. The initial study was primarily
for timber culture and assistance in controlling forest
fires. Further study convinced the company it was
worth the cost of operations to increase rainfall and
run-off at three of our mills in the South-namely,
Springhill (Louisiana) near the Arkansas-Louisiana
line in the Shreveport area on Bodcau Bayou; Moss
Point (Mississippi) source of water, Escatawpa River,
the boundary between the states of Mississippi and
Alabama; and Georgetown (South Carolina) source
of water being the Black River.
(2) Is rainmaking considered to be necessary? Due
to continued drouth throughout the South in the
summer and fall of 1954, following the dry year of
1953, the company resorted to cloud seeding or stimu-
lation at the above-mentioned paper mill areas.
Deficiency in rainfall, decreased run-off, and intru-
sion of high chloride water at Moss Point and George-
town, forced us to resort to artificial rainmaking by
cloud seeding. Also, because of threatened shortage of
surface water in northwest Louisiana for paper mill
consumption, the cloud seeding was expanded by
Howell Associates, and operations were carried on at all
three areas during the fall and winter of 1954-55.
*International Paper Company, Mobile, Alabama.
At present, regular operations are continuing in
the Springhill-Shreveport area, while at Georgetown,
operations are only on a standby basis. There have
been no operations in the Moss Point-Mobile area
since February 21, 1955.
(3) Periods and locations of cloud seeding or rain-
making operations. Cloud-seeding operations were
carried on in the Springhill-Shreveport area during
March, April, and May of 1954 when observations were
made of the effect of cloud seeding by use of ground
generators, using propanegas and silver iodide. Opera-
tions were then discontinued for the next four months.
Drouth conditions existed in South Carolina in the
Black River watershed to the extent that there \was
less rainfall than in Arizona for the same period, and
cloud seeding was started in the Georgetown area
August 27, 1954 and continued through Februarn 28,
1955. This time both ground generators (for the en-
tire period) and airplane seeding (for two month%,
were used in the target area'in order to provide mote
fresh river water and to help fight forest fires that
had burned since July 4, 1954.
The company's forester,.i io coordinated opera-
tions and furnished Intertidi~al Paper Company la-
bor and trucks used in .o reported that on
Wednesday before Labor isj..rangers and fire-
fighting equipment were i W ,'of the woods for
the first time in ten we&uly 4, when pic-
nickers set the fires. In ltB..oring to tain-
making, the company (00 gallons of
water daily with tugs aa tiring a period
of over four months. 9
NMoss Point mill su"i ridee water
due to low flow in tbei iource of mill
process water. Clou n in that
area on September 14, Alto Februarn
21, 1955. "
(4) Results of rain
outside the target a
Mobile area) showed 9
rainfall, and river wV
Referring to cloud.
time. the company,..
to airplane service a
one month. Three 1
viousl\ passed over .
~ier to no
results from ground generators which were used during
the entire period.
The pilots of Curry Sanders Company with head-
quarters in Shreveport were very skeptical about cloud
seeding. After dropping between 500 and 1000 lb. of
dry ice at elevation 12,000 to 14,000 ft., they decided
to dive through and under the clouds seeded with dry
ice. They reported that they encountered torrents
of rain falling in water spout proportions and, after
getting the scare of their flying career, they said they
were fully convinced and converted to cloud seeding.
(5) Conclusions. The results from cloud seeding
were: (1) increase in rainfall within target areas; (2)
increased run-off; (3) help in controlling forest fires
inside and outside of the watershed areas (cost of all
three operations amounted to approximately $95,000);
(4) the company is now thinking of carrying on year-
round cloud seeding operations at these locations and
others for co-ordinated benefits to water supply, waste
disposal, and timberland improvement and protection
from forest fires.
(6) Insurance coverage. During the spring of 1954
at Springhill, the company was unable to get coverage
on cloud-seeding operations from Lloyds of London
or any other insurance company because of the lack
of such insurance business upon which to make rates.
However, during the fall and winter of 1954 and 1955,
insurance coverage at reasonable rates has been ob-