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Fedor Mesinger and Nedeljka Mesinger


An earlier attempt to estimate the effect of hail suppression by silver iodide seeding in eastern parts of Yugoslavia, based on hail-frequency data at stations having professional observers, is extended here. Hail-frequency data only are considered, rather than the hail- and the ice pellet-frequency data taken together. The period of the data is extended from 37 to 40 years. A statistical analysis of the probability of the observed result being obtained by chance is made, based on the permutation test; a sensitivity test of the possible observer-subjectivity effect is done; and several tests of and corrections for any climate and observing practices change are also made.

The ratio of the average hail frequency during the seeding activities in the area of the station and the average frequency before these activities shows a reduction in the hail frequency by about 25%. A synthetic histogram of the frequency ratios resulting from 10 000 random permutations (station by station) of the observed frequency data gave the probability of this observed frequency reduction being obtained by chance, if in fact no positive effect of seeding or climate change existed, of about 2 in 10 000.

A sensitivity test of the observer-subjectivity effect was made by removing from the available sample of 23 stations the station showing the greatest reduction in hail frequency. This decreased the apparent effectiveness from about 25% to about 23%, and the probability of the positive result became 4 in 10 000.

Tests as well as corrections for the effects of possible climate fluctuations and/or a change in hail-observing practices were performed by using the two neighboring regions of Vojvodina and Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had no hail suppression programs as the control area. The effectiveness calculations as well as the permutation tests were than repeated using “corrected” data. These various corrections reduced the effectiveness of the seeding activities from about 25% to between 22% and 15% and increased the probability of the positive result being obtained by chance to between about 6 and 141 in 10 000. Thus, it appears unlikely that the seeding activities have no positive effect whatsoever; and the reduction in hail frequency seems to be of the order of 15%–20%.

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