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Publication Abstract

Economics of Weather Modification: a Review Sonka, Steven T., 1979  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS RI-89    Full Text Available

This report first discusses gross benefits and costs of potential weather modification activities and the elements vital to a credible economic analysis of such activities. It then reviews and evaluates more than 60 existing studies relating to the economic impacts of five major modification activities: precipitation augmentation including snowpack enhancement, hail suppression, hurricane suppression, fog dispersal, and lightning suppression. Because weather can have severe adverse effects on economic activity, gross benefits of modification appear very high in relation to most operational costs. However, indirect costs may be great and, in general, those adversely affected are not the same individuals enjoying the gross benefits. A credible economic analysis of net bcnefits of weather modification requires consulting with atmospheric scientists to assure understanding of the physical factors involved, funding for a considerable amount of data gathering, considering effects of possible future changes in crucial factors, and orienting the analytical viewpoint to both negative and positive regional economic impacts. Most of the existing literature relating to the economics of weather modification addresses precipitation augmentation and hail suppression; very few attempts toward comprehensive economic analyses have been made. More is known about the economic impacts of weather on agriculture than for any other activity area.

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