“We’re further along in using science to manually force the weather’s hand than many people suspect. In 2009, for example, the Chinese government used weather manipulation to bring a snowstorm to Beijing, and they aren’t the only nation giving it a try. But using so-called “cloud seeding” techniques as high-tech rain dances is controversial; critics say it’s both ineffective and bad for the environment. A potentially better solution — to this, as to most things! — is to fire up some lasers.
Last year, a paper published in Nature Communications showed it was possible to form water particles using lasers. That’s not the same as creating rain; the particles were about 100 times too small to be rain drops. But it’s somewhat of a proof of concept, and as a recent paper in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics points out, our lasers are only getting better.”