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Sonora says cloud seeding with silver iodide produced more rain

Sonoran authorities are claiming success in the cloud seeding effort carried out in the state over the summer.

As in many parts of Arizona, Sonora enjoyed a wet monsoon season, a welcome change from last year’s disappointing summer that left many in the state’s critical agricultural sector desperate. Federal and state officials are chalking some of that up to cloud seeding.

Seventeen flights were made over an area of several million acres in Sonora, over which 1,500 liters of silver iodide were dropped, according to a state release.

Leading up to the monsoon season, nearly the entire state was experiencing extreme or exceptional dryness. Now none of the state is, with about 20% at moderate or severe levels. Reservoirs have also rebounded from historically low levels that came close to compromising Hermosillo’s access to drinking water.

A 2020 National Science Foundation-funded studyfound that cloud seeding can boost precipitation.

Murphy Woodhouse was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.