BEIJING: If bad weather threatens the August 8 opening of Beijing’s Olympic Games, then meteorologists may change the weather, according to an official.

Chen Zhenlin, a vice director with the China Meteorological Administration (CMA), made the statement on Tuesday at a press conference held at the Beijing International Media Center.

Meteorological departments will consult the Beijing municipal government whether or not to change the city’s weather, said Mr. Chen.

He said meteorologists had made preparations for artificial weather modification since 2003, especially on reducing rainfall, but admitted that the technology still has limitations. “Artificial weather modification could be useful when a drizzle occurs,” he said. “But in case of a heavy rainfall, no one can help.” According to Qiao Lin, CMA’s chief weather forecaster, official weather information for the opening day of the Beijing Olympics would not be available until August 1, a week before the Games.

CMA experts would come up with forecasts two weeks before the Games. The administration, however, would “probably not publish the results as too much uncertainty is involved,” said Mr. Qiao.

He said city weather statistics from 1951 to 2007 show there is a 47 per cent chance of drizzle on August 8. But the possibility of heavy rain was far from likely, he said, adding the analysis was by no means an official weather forecast. — Xinhua