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The Royal Activities on Rainmaking


Photo of His Majesty the King

           As mentioned previously, His Majesty the King initiated the first rainmaking in Thailand, and supporting this work from the very beginning. His Majesty closely monitored the implementation of every step. When the royal rainmaking Unit faced some problems, His Majesty kindly gave suggestions to help solve problems such as His suggestions to conduct a test at Hua Hin every month, in order to get all year round information on the rainmaking, He also suggested training researchers so they would able to set up an operations plan according to local weather conditions. At times, His Majesty participated in the experiments and directed the operations. Before each operation, His Majesty would remind the working officers to study the weather conditions first. This is to avoid (inducing a subsequent depression) damaging to crops and property. His Majesty would encourage the operation if weather conditions were favourable in order to get more rainfall. He warned the operators to take care with some chemicals which could be dangerous to users etc. Following are just some examples of his numerous activities regarding to Rainmaking.

Photo of His Majesty the King

            On August 20th,1969 His Majesty the King accompanied by His royal highness the Crown Prince visited Bo Fai Airport at Hua Hin to observe the 5th Royal Rainmaking experiment. His Majesty kindly told the operations team to bear the burden because the work was very important in helping the unfortunate people to alleviate drought. His Majesty suggested the operations team to study the information and factors of surface weather conditions, such as surface relative humidity charts for the area, and increasing surface relative humidity. His Majesty also demonstrated how to increase surface relative humidity to the operations team. To do that, His Majesty ordered a Palace fire truck to spray water up in the air. Then he went into where water was being sprayed, holding a hygrometer to measure humidity without worrying his body would get wet. Apparently the hygrometer showed the relative humidity at the same level as his prediction. Moreover, His Majesty suggested the unit to increase the number of field observation units so that rainfall and other related information could be collected in greater detail.

            Based upon that visit, the kind suggestions of His Majesty to the operations unit have been followed as scripture by the team and its successors up to the present time. These are:

       1. Research and studying is important work which never ends.

       2. Ignore critics which discourage the effort to develop.

       3. Keep written records

 

Photo of His Majesty the King Photo of His Majesty the King Photo of His Majesty the King

On April 26th, 1971 His Majesty the King traveled to Bo Fai airport to observe rainmaking. At the airport, His Majesty the King awarded the Royal Rainmaking wing to the working team as a sign of goodwill toward them, and he also blessed the new rainmaking aircraft which was the first one the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives procured it with its allocated budget. On this occasion, His Majesty the King allowed three officials from Australia to follow him to observe the rainmaking experiment.  His Majesty had conversations and exchanged opinions with the three Australian officers without formality. The three Australian officers much appreciated His Majesty’s kindness and praised him as an expert in the field of artificial rainmaking.

Photo of His Majesty the King

On October 19th, 1972 His Majesty the King directed the Royal Rainmaking demonstration at the Kaeng Krachan reservoir, Petchaburi province as a demonstration to three representatives of the Singapore Government. His Majesty was confident that the operation would result in rainfall on the reservoir. The Kaeng Krachan reservoir was chosen as the target area because its topographic and weather conditions were similar to that of Singapore. Subsequently the Singapore representatives could adopt the appropriate rainmaking methods to be practiced in Singapore. The Kaeng Krachan reservoir was considered to be the smallest and the most difficult target area the operation team had ever made. The Police Department’s aircraft and the aircraft from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives were used in the demonstration. The Bo Fai airport was used as the operation base. His Majesty the King directed the operation by means of radio communication from the Kaeng Krachan area. By his expertise, there was rainfall to the reservoir within 5 hours of the operation, to the excitement and impressed Singaporean representatives.

During November 15-29th, 1972 His Majesty the King planed and directed the Royal Rainmaking from the Chitralada Palace through the Police Radio Network. The purpose of the operation was to increase the water level of the Bhumipol Dam at the end of the rainy season, as its water volume was lower than usual. There was no depression to activate rain at the time but the relative humidity was high enough to give a good chance for the rainmaking. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives aircraft were used in this operation and the dam’s airfield was used as the operations base. The operation resulted in rainfall on the Dam and the catchment area every operating day. The water volume was increased by about 620 million cubic metres bringing up the water level of the Bhumipol Dam to 150 centimeters higher than the level before the operation. The electricity generated by this amount of water has a high monetary value.

Photo of His Majesty the King

During July 13th to August 26th, 1974 His Majesty the King kindly called for a special Royal Rainmaking operation, and participated in the operation which was carried out in the northeastern region by a working group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. At that time drought was occurring in 16 provinces as rain was unusually late. The farmer lacked water to prepare rice seedling and most of the seeds that had already been sown and germinated had not received enough water. Some farmers were not be able to till their paddy fields for rice transplanting when their seedling were ready to be transplanted. It was the largest drought area which the Royal Rainmaking Project had ever undertaken. The total drought area of 17 million rai (2.72 million hectares), in 16 provinces was reported. The operation used 8 rainmaking aircrafts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, supported by large C-123 aircraft from the Royal Air Force, and 2 Porter aircraft from the Police Department. The rescue operation lasted 45 days. His Majesty the King planned and directed most of the daily operations. Before the operations, farmers could transplant rice seedling in only 5% of the total rice planting area. After the operation, there were reports from every province under the operation that farmers could prepare more seedlings, the dry seedbeds were saved, and the average rice transplanted area was increased by about 55% of the total rice planting area. In many provinces, almost all the rice growing area could be transplanted.

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