High above Thailand’s parched landscape the kingdom’s fleet of intrepid royal rainmakers work their meteorological wizardry.

A squadron of 20 aircraft plunges through the clouds firing a cocktail of chemicals that they hope will provoke a downpour to alleviate the effects of drought on the country’s crucial agriculture sector.

The annual cloud seeding operation is something of a personal crusade for Thailand’s King Bhumibol, who has earned the title “Father of the Royal Rainmaking” for his half-century project to persuade clouds to rain on cue.

– Extracted from Kelly Macnamara (who was, by-the-by, recently appointed to AFP’s Bangkok bureau), “King’s rainmakers take to skies to ease drought”, Edmonton Journal, 23 August 2010. Previous NM coverage of this issue is available here and here.