Hydro Tasmania is to begin its 2014 cloud seeding season tomorrow in a bid to help increase hydro storages in the Australian state.
Cloud seeding makes an important contribution to Hydro Tasmania's annual generating capacity by increasing rainfall. A recent Monash University study found a consistent increase of at least 5% in monthly rainfall over seeded catchment areas.
Hydro storages are currently at 29.6%. This is approximately 8% lower than the same time last year after a particularly dry summer period.
Catchment areas to be seeded this year are Gordon, Great Lake, Lake Rowallan, Upper Pieman, Lake King William, Lake St. Clair and Lake Echo.
This year's cloud seeding season continues to contribute to research it's hoped will improve rainfall forecasting in important catchment areas in south-east Australia.
The Southern Ocean is the source of much of the winter rain across southern Australia. However, some aspects of the ocean's influence on weather patterns are poorly understood, resulting in limited ability to generate accurate long-term forecasts.
Gaining a greater understanding will support development of modelling tools that will result in improved long-term forecasting, said Hydro Tasmania. This is vital to improving water resource management in many parts of southern Australia, including Tasmania.
Hydro Tasmania will conduct flights during the 2014 cloud seeding season to coincide with the passage of satellites over Tasmania, providing 'in-situ' validation of satellite measurements. Key measurements will be taken, including air temperature, wind and liquid water content of the atmosphere.
The research is being led by Monash University with support from scientists at Hydro Tasmania, Snowy Hydro, the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (VIC). The project was awarded a highly competitive Australian Research Council (ARC) grant.
The cloud seeding season will run through to the end of October.
Photo: Map showing catchment areas to be seeded in 2014 (Source: Hydro Tasmania)