Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Science Technology

New Ice Structure Could Help Seed Clouds, Cause Rain 100

ScienceDaily is reporting that a new ice chain structure may provide a better method for seeding clouds and causing rain. "Ice structures are usually built out of simple hexagonal arrangements of water molecules and this hexagonal building block motif is easily observed in the structures of snowflakes. However, during their studies Dr Angelos Michaelides and co-workers from the Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin, and the University of Liverpool have discovered a natural nanoscale ice structure formed of pentagons."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Ice Structure Could Help Seed Clouds, Cause Rain

Comments Filter:
  • Ice 9? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tau Neutrino ( 76206 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:27PM (#27122737)
    Holy Bokonon! It's the end of the world!
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      Nice, nice, very nice

    • by hany ( 3601 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @01:29PM (#27123627) Homepage

      Please, just do not let it drop into the river, lake or ocean!!!

      Quite dumb-proof, isn't it? :)


      Btw, its ice-nine [wikipedia.org] by Kurt Vonegut [wikipedia.org] if anybody is wondering.

      • Please, just do not let it drop into the river, lake or ocean!!!

        My God, if the terrorists got ahold of it...

        • They would die. Frozen to death despite living in a dessert.

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by hoojus ( 935220 )

            Frozen to death despite living in a dessert.

            Only if the dessert was ice cream. If it were a hot apple pie they would hardly be frozen.

    • first thing I thought, so glad to see someone else already took care of posting it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by overThruster ( 58843 )

      About 20 years ago when I was a freshman an the State University of New York at Albany, I had the good fortune to meet Bernard Vonnegut [wikipedia.org], Kurt Vonnegut's brother. After talking to him a bit, the light went on in my head and I realized he must have been the inspiration for Kurt's ideas about ice-9!

      Bernard Vonnegut was a brilliant atmospheric scientist who invented the process of cloud seeding with silver iodide crystals. Despite his achievements, he was a kind gentleman who was more than happy to take the tim

  • ice9 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tei ( 520358 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:27PM (#27122739) Journal

    A science fiction history about ice that is stable at room temperatura, so iceize the adjacent water. Causing the apocalipsys wen one piece of ice9 accidentally touch the sea.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I seem to remember there was an Outer Limits episode with a similar plot as well. Some kind of artificial structure that caused water to freeze at 45 degrees and melt somewhere around 80, so the world was immediately plunged into an ice age.
      • At least it seems like it would be a pretty comfortable Ice Age.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ByOhTek ( 1181381 )

          initiallty. However ice would reflect light, cooling the earth...

          But at 40F, it'd melt again, allowing the earth to heat up, and freeze again.

          The balance would end up with either the earth just plain freezing (most likely) or hovering between 32F and 40F in the areas that previously wouldn't have been frozen.

          It wouldn't be a warm ice age.

          • So,

            Then I'd be advised to start driving a Hummer to offset the global cooling with global warming? Meaning I'd have a more comfortable temp. and be able to burn all the fosil fuels I want?
          • Curious (Score:3, Funny)

            by camperdave ( 969942 )
            initiallty. However ice would reflect light, cooling the earth...

            As I look out at the ugly piles of black, dirt encrusted ice, I have to wonder: If white reflects heat, and black absorbs it, why is it that the big piles of white snow are long since melted away, and the big piles of dirty black snow are still here?
            • Re:Curious (Score:4, Insightful)

              by frogzilla ( 1229188 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @01:58PM (#27124013)

              As snow melts any crud that is on the surface or embedded in the pile collects and makes the surface darker as the pile gets smaller. The clean snow piles that you observed melting more quickly weren't as large or were less dense than the dirty snow piles. I suspect that you probably didn't perform careful observations (as no reasonable, casual observer would) and that if you did you'd soon see that it all makes sense. Also I think you'd find it very difficult to find a clean snow pile in an urban environment. Maybe behind an arena? Even then airborne matter would accumulate on the surface. This happens just about anywhere that snow sits for a long time.

            • Re:Curious (Score:4, Interesting)

              by ByOhTek ( 1181381 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @03:29PM (#27125363) Journal

              because it isn't snow, it's ice (well, snow is ice, but ice with a lot of air in it.

              First off, that black ice? it's shiny. You flash light on it, it reflects it back, it doesn't scatter it. At the right angle, it's bright because you see the shine, but at off angles, you don't get the scatter - so it's still reflecting more light (reducing heat input), though probably not as much as snow.

              Which comes to why it is still around. If you freeze a pool of water (or a trickle of water), it become ice, not snow, because it didn't have a high air content while freezing. Snow is created in the atmosphere where there is much more non-water-vapor than water-vapor in the air.

              Most of that ice is re-frozen snow (it melts, and sinks, as it sinks, it gets to cooler areas and re-freezes, maybe the sun goes down, and heat input goes down, so it the stuff that was exposed and warming refreezes as well.

        • by mea37 ( 1201159 )
          Until the complete lack of liquid water starved the plant-life, removing the foundation of the food chain.
      • by hajus ( 990255 )

        Freeze at 45 and melt at 80? Aren't melting and freezing temperatures the same? I know outer limits was fictional but I didn't know they were that far out.

  • I can see on the tags that I am not the only one who thought so
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:44PM (#27123023)

    In soviet russia, the pentagon snows on YOU.

    FTFA - "Snow is made of hexagons. We changed it up and used fucking PENTAGONS."

    Won't someone think of the children who on the way to school will be pelted
    with snowballs of an ever increasing diameter?

    I'm off to make fire hotter using a goddamn nano-rhombus. Donations for science anyone?

  • by Camann ( 1486759 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:44PM (#27123025)

    Maybe I just don't understand the subject enough but from TFA "... there is no a priori rule that hexagons should form... and when people are searching for new ice nucleating agents which can be used to seed clouds and cause rain, they do not necessarily need to focus on materials that have hexagonal surfaces - other types of surfaces may be good too."

    Nowhere do I see a claim that this pentagonal structure is superior, just that this opens up the potential that there are other structures as well and that one yet undiscovered structure could be beneficial for cloud seeding.

    • by Orp ( 6583 )

      That's what I came here to say. All this means is when searching for new artificial ice nuclei (silver iodide being the most popular right now due to its hexagonal crystal structure) they can expand into new crystal structure candidates rather than just hexagonal.

      It does not mean they will find something which is effective as AgI, it simply gives cloud physicists another class of crystal structures to explore.

  • Ice Ice Baby (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 09, 2009 @12:44PM (#27123027)

    Yet another form of Ice to add the existing 16-odd arrangements [wikipedia.org].

  • I thought the real problem with global warming was humans CAUSING it. We were CAUSING the change and making it bad. How is involvment it CREATING clouds and making it rain any better. Sounds worse to me.

    We need to stop trying to shape infinitly complex systems we do not understand, because there WILL be unintended consequences.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      We need to realize that we are shaping nearly-infinitely complex systems, whether we want to or not. Then we can learn to understand them so that we can create intended consequences.
    • by jdigriz ( 676802 )
      No the real problem with global warming is the change in climate. Humans causing it is actually a better situation than if it were naturally occurring because if human beings are the cause then we have a good idea of what we'd need to do to avert it. If the conservative wackos are correct and mankind isn't changing the climate on a global scale, then we are truly at nature's mercy unless we want to invent global climate control. Luckily, the anthropogenic climate change skeptics are either ill-informed o
    • We can see the olympics in China. Not that I think this idea has a snowball's chance in hell but a bit of rain-making in SE Australia would be usefull.
  • The Fed's are quick to regulate what we can put into the atmosphere, but would they care what we took out? That is until it started changing the climates for their constituents.
  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @01:06PM (#27123363) Journal
    Shouldn't it have been:

    Pentagon may control weather!
  • by __aaqxjh2299 ( 1440441 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @01:06PM (#27123365)
    Perhaps it isn't Vonnegut so much as Ursula LeGuin we should look to here. You can't cast a light without creating a shadow. Do we know that creating rain somewhere will not cause drought elsewhere?
    • Do we know that creating rain somewhere will not cause drought elsewhere?

      I have heard that it was fear of lawsuits from people downwind, over moisture removed from the air by cloud seeding to create rain on land upwind that otherwise would have ended up as rain on THEIR land, which ended the experiments with cloud seeding to aid agriculture in the USA.

  • As in the symbol often associated with Witchcraft and Devil worship?!

    I've often said, "Go to H***!" to people who bother me. Perhaps I should say, "Go to Heaven!" instead?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Camann ( 1486759 )
      pentagon != pentagram
      • by Camann ( 1486759 )
        actually that's still wrong, it's the combination of the star and pentagon shapes that has the religious meanings. I don't know what the name of that is off the top of my head. Thought it was pentagram but that's just the star shape according to wikipedia...
    • Right and wrong. You might be thinking of pentagrams which are used in the occult across the world.

      If you were thinking of only the United States, then yes, you are correct. The pentagon is not only the symbol most associated with witchcraft and devil worship, but also where most of it takes place.

  • by TimmyDee ( 713324 ) on Monday March 09, 2009 @01:17PM (#27123491) Homepage Journal

    I think to say that Science Daily does any reporting is stretching the definition of reporting a bit much. I think "rewritten from a press release" is more like it.

    If you want a real news piece, with real reporting, check out the article on the same paper over at New Scientist [newscientist.com]. They actually talked with the scientist involved in the study (and one that wasn't).

  • How long till the "pentawater" people seize on this as "proof" of their unfounded claims about their bottled magic-water?

    (Slightly related - UK slashdotters can sign a petition [number10.gov.uk] to protest OfQuack (aka CNHC) certifying unproven Supplementary, Complementary and Alternative Medicine procedures.)

  • Somewhere in here there's a joke about pentagonal snowballs in hell and the end of the world. I just can't make it coalesce.

  • Isn't continual rain something that happened in Bladerunner? Do we have to buy those lightup umbrellas now? They started being sold recently on thinkgeek. Coincidence? I think not.
  • "...natural nanoscale ice structure formed of pentagons."

    Cripes, an entire structure full of Pentagons? We've got ONE and look how much it costs! Hold on to your wallets...

  • All this makes me think of Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series and how the new inhabitants of the space vessel manage to screw things up completely, because they put short term personal needs before the balance of the system.

  • Don't they know the Ancient Ones are confined to the center of the Pentagon? Now they'll make their escape, one tiny piece at a time!


  • What a great idea... Let's take ice, drop it from the sky, and tell people as it melts that we've created rain!!!

    • Good to see kneejerk ignorance is alive and well on Slashdot.

    • Let's take ice, drop it from the sky, and tell people as it melts that we've created rain!!!

      If ice is falling from the sky, and it melts into droplets and falls as water - what would you call it other than rain?

  • This relates to a one-dimensional crystal forming on a flat surface.

    I wonder if it's related to the early stages of frost formation on windows, where needles of ice form rapidly on the surface before the ice fills in between them?

  • So how long is it going to be before lots of overpaid lawyers sue the cloud-seeders on the grounds that the communities downwind "own" the rain? Think that's crazy? Try telling that to the communities fighting for the right to put wells in local aquifers against the people way way WAY downstream who think all of the water upstream is theirs.

  • natural nanoscale ice structure formed of pentagons.

    Not more Pentagons! The one just south of Washington, D.C., is more than enough!

  • by The Iso ( 1088207 ) on Tuesday March 10, 2009 @02:48PM (#27138655)

    If the ice crystals are pentagonal, they will form pentagonal snowflakes. This will give us a better chance of finding the snowflake with magic properties depicted on page 00062 of the Principia Discordia.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.