By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, Sept 20: The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) successfully carried out its first day cloud seeding operations today, covering several haze-hit areas across the state.
Piloted by Capt Major Rosnalisa Fitri Mohd Rosli and five crew members, the operations using the Hercules C-130 aircraft included officers from the Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia), Civil Defence Force and media personnel.
The aircraft departed RMAF Kuching airbase at 1pm, covering Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman, Betong, Saratok, Sarikei, Kanowit, Mukah, Sibu and turning back to Lundu, in the two hours flight task.
Earlier, a total of 800 kilogramme of salt were dissolved with 4,800 litres of water in four 1,200-litre water tanks.
Upon reaching the height of 7,000 feet, RMAF crew began releasing the salt water as the aircraft passed through areas that have towering cumulus clouds.
MetMalaysia Sarawak deputy director, Siniarovina Urban Sinyaw, who was also on the flight, said cloud seeding is a process of inducing rain, not making rain, as the formation of moisture-laden towering cumulus clouds means that rain will happen eventually.
Through cloud seeding, the process of rainfall production is accelerated and increases the amount of rainfall.
Cloud seeding operation will continue tomorrow and Sunday, Sept 22.
Meanwhile, as at 4pm, air pollutant index (API) level for Sri Aman is still at hazardous level of 409.
Kuching (234), Samarahan (208) and Sarikei (208) remained at very unhealthy, while Sibu (172), Mukah (123), Bintulu (106) and Miri (104) are at the unhealthy API range.
An API reading of between 0 and 50 is good while 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy, and 301 and above is deemed hazardous. — DayakDaily