Chiang Mai celebrated Father of Royal Rainmaking Day to pay respect to HM the late King Rama IX’s efforts to mitigate drought in Thailand.
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Gov. Charoenrit Sanguansat presided over the Nov. 14 ceremony at the Royal Park Rajapruek Building, laying a fresh flower wreath for HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej with government workers, military, police, local administration organizations, business leaders, and students attending.
Thai farmers traditionally have to wait for seasonal rain to grow crops and they are often faced with difficulties from drought. During his travels to all parts of the country, His Majesty found that drought had become more severe in certain areas of the country and rainfall was inconsistent.
Early in his reign, His Majesty became interested in artificial rainmaking to assist farmers. At this point, he began to study rainmaking techniques to seek ways of bringing down more rain to ease the drought situation. He read research work on meteorology and weather modification, which he found useful for combating weather change.
In 1955, when the King visited the northeastern provinces, he looked at the sky and saw a large number of clouds moving over the vast, arid area of the Northeast. The initial conception arose from his observation that there was no rain despite heavy clouds. He wondered how to make the clouds heavier and turn into rain. This idea was the starting point for his efforts to conduct rainmaking operations, which proved successful in 1959.
On Nov. 14, 1955, His Majesty donated his private funds to launch the Royal Rainmaking Project. He also devoted a great deal of time and energy to develop rainmaking technology.
The project serves as a model for many Asian countries, which have asked for assistance from Thailand in rainmaking. Officials from Indonesia, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Sri Lanka also travel to Thailand to train in the science of rainmaking.
His Majesty’s technique was registered with the World Meteorological Organization in 1982. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of His Majesty’s accession to the throne, WMO presented an award to His Majesty in recognition of his strong support for meteorological and operational hydrology. The award presentation took place in 1997 and came in the form of a certificate and a barometer.
Later, the cabinet in August 2002 endorsed the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives’ proposal for the title of the Father of Royal Rainmaking to honor His Majesty King Bhumibol. They also agreed to designate 14 November each year as Father of Royal Rainmaking Day. For more than 60 years now, royal rainmaking has contributed to Thailand’s water security.