Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Publication Date
1 January 2021

A Modeling Examination of Cloud Seeding Conditions Under the Warmer Climate in Utah, USA



Assessment of how the wintertime cloud seeding conditions over Utah's mountains may change provides essential information for the state to work on increasing its snowpack in the warmer climate. In this study, data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research's high-resolution, convection-permitting Weather Research and Forecasting model are used to evaluate suitable conditions for wintertime cloud seeding over Utah's mountains, and to estimate future changes to these conditions under a pseudo-global warming scenario. While previous studies have examined historical cloud seeding conditions, this is the first study that explores the impact of future climate change on these conditions. Based on two atmospheric variables commonly used in cloud-seeding operations, i.e. average temperature from the surface to 1 km above ground level (−20 °C≤T≤−6 °C) and vertically integrated supercooled liquid water (SLW > 0.01 mm), Utah's mountains are suitable for seeding more than 20% of the time during winter. A greater rate of suitability exists in the northern and Uinta Mountains. In the warmer climate under a high-emissions scenario, these seeding conditions may wane as the percentage of precipitating clouds suitable for seeding, about 60% under current conditions, would decline to about 40% across the state with significance. This projected decrease is due to rising temperatures and a decreased frequency of precipitation events. These findings imply that climate warming will narrow the window of opportunity for winter cloud seeding operation in Utah.
“A Modeling Examination Of Cloud Seeding Conditions Under The Warmer Climate In Utah, Usa”. 2021. Atmospheric Research 248: 105239. doi:10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105239.
Funding Program Area(s)