THE FATHER OF
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej
cared deeply about those living in rural areas
who faced a severe shortage of water
for consumption and agriculture
due to prolonged drought,
delayed rainy season,
or unseasonal rain.
THE GREATEST KING
Drought was solved by His Majesty’s Royal Rainmaking Project. The idea came after His Majesty had visited various places and saw that there were clouds in the sky, but not enough to make rain. If those clouds could be gathered, rain could be made.
Since 1955, His Majesty had read research work on meteorology and weather modification, which he found useful for combating weather change. Then, he expressed his ideas to M.R. Debriddhi Devakul, a renowned agricultural engineer at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives at the time. M.R. Debriddhi further researched the idea and later the pilot Royal Rainmaking Project was established, under the Office of Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The first experiment was conducted on July 1-2, 1969.
He started the first trial flight by seeding substances (dry ice, or solid carbon dioxide) of which the size was not greater than one cubic inch at the top of clouds. The height of this cloud which soared dispersedly over the test site was not over than 10,000 ft. Then, the cloud physical shape obviously changed. The cloud mass coalesced and condensed. Its top was built up higher and it became a large rain cloud rapidly and moved following with the wind direction. According to the follow-up by field surveys and information received and confirmed by the populace, there was rain over the target area, Khao Yai National Park. This event demonstrated that control of clouds was possible. After that, there were other experiments in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan, and the technology has greatly solved drought in Thailand.
In 1998, there was a severe drought in Thailand, and there was not enough water. There were wildfires and the water became salty. The problems persisted well into the summer of 1999. His Majesty ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to revive the rainmaking technique, and to improve new technologies, which included the use of aircraft to seed warm and cold clouds at different altitudes (formerly only warm clouds were seeded). The special method was dubbed the “Super Sandwich”.
The incredibly useful Royal Rainmaking Project was a result of His Majesty’s dedication and wisdom. The Cabinet, during its meeting on August 20, 2002, endorsed the proposal by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives for the title of Father of Royal Rainmaking to honour His Majesty the King and to designate November 14 each year “Father of Royal Rainmaking Day” to pay tribute to His Majesty’s great benevolence, which will always be remembered by the Thai people.