I’d hate to choose just one section of New Hampshire laws that is the weirdest, but Chapter 12-F has to be in the running. It says, in totality:
Any department or agency of the state may, with the approval of the governor and council and within the limits of appropriated funds or by means of gifts, donations or grants, engage in and undertake experimentation in the techniques and methods for weather modification, and may cooperate therein with the federal government, with authorized agencies of other states, and with interested persons and organizations.
Weather modification! Who knew?
I did, actually, and so did you if you’ve read this blog for a while because I’ve written about it before. It comes up every few years whenever somebody proposes to remove this section, as they did a year ago. That effort fizzled in legislative committee, mostly (I think) from fear of unexpected repercussions.
New Hampshire’s weird law is an outgrowth of a 1964 experiment to seed clouds by shooting silver iodide particles from guns on the ground. There’s not a lot of information about that effort but in 2013 I wrote what I could find out, including an interview with the inventor’s son. It’s part of the old Granite Geek archive that is lost, so I repurposed it in 2017: You can read the column here.
I mention it today because of a ClimateWire story about 7 western states trying to use cloud-seeding to respond to a historic mega-drought in the region. From the story:
Interest in cloud seeding is growing as temperatures steadily rise, increasing drought risks in places like the Mountain West. But there’s a catch. Scientists aren’t sure how well cloud seeding works today, let alone in a warmer climate.
Amid growing concerns about water resources in the western U.S., scientists are working to answer those questions. Today, cloud seeding research represents the cutting edge of weather and climate science — a convergence of questions about the influence of warming on our dwindling water resources and our ability to control those consequences.
Here’s a follow up story which goes into more detail about the difficulties of making it work, possibly worsened by climate change: here.