Thursday, 5th March
at 9.30pm on BBC2
Graeme Mather has dedicated his entire working life to proving once
and for all that clouds can be made to rain by human intervention. Now,
after 30 years of fruitless searching, Graeme believes that he has made
the breakthrough that will make cloud-seeding a legitimate
Horizon tells the story of one man's
and his amazing discovery that could end droughts and revolutionise
water management the world over.
Canadian-born Dr Mather was warned by his tutor: "Whatever you do,
be seduced by the challenge of weather modification. You'll waste your
time and your reputation." Graeme ignored that advice and embarked
on a career that has seen numerous false dawns and attracted the
scepticism of his fellow scientists.
Then, just as
on the point of accepting defeat, he had his eureka moment, a
observation that revealed a new way of seeding clouds. Suddenly the
of 30 years were swept aside as he and his colleagues in South Africa
the new theory to the test. Seven years on, Graeme's discovery is now
the final, independent trials that will prove its legitimacy.
new idea, but for over 100 years it has been more of an act of faith
a science, as meteorologists and drought-stricken farmers have tried
clouds with a variety of "magic ingredients", none of which worked to
measurable degree. The theory was fine, the practice was a failure.
is, until Graeme had his eureka moment.
when he observed that pollutants from a local paper-mill had an
effect on storms passing overhead - they rained harder and longer.
then, he and his research company CloudQuest have worked
to perfect the technology that can repeat this phenomenon and to
the data gathering techniques that prove it works. Their South African
experiments have been impressive, recording increases in the rainfall
clouds of between 40-60%.
Horizon goes to
to witness the trials that finally seem to be vindicating Graeme's
much to the astonishment of sceptics. Dramatic sequences of mid-air
and sudden downpours bear witness to a technological revolution
the making. They also reveal the natural science that lies behind the
spectacular, but secret world of clouds.
For Graeme it marks
successful culmination of a life's work. Adam Bullmore and Denman
film tells the remarkable story of the triumph of persistence and good
luck over failure and frustration. In his own words: "It's how science
ought to work, but almost never does." But sadly, Graeme will never see
the fruits of his work. Shortly before filming was completed, Graeme