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Last Updated: Thursday February 19 2009 15:20 GMT

'Fake rain' sparks snow in China

'Fake rain' brings snow to end China drought

An unusual way of ending one of China's longest droughts has led to a blanket of snow covering the country's capital city, Beijing.

A special chemical was sprayed into the clouds to make artificial rain - a process called cloud-seeding - and the results were immediate.

Rain and snow started to fall city for the first time in 110 days, ending Beijing's longest drought in 38 years.

But it's not the first time China has created artificial rain in this way.

The system is sometimes used in the north of the country, which often suffers from droughts.

In the past, cloud-seeding has been criticised by some people who feel it is wrong to interfere with rainfall because increasing it in one area might mean less rain falls elsewhere.

But people living in Beijing welcomed the rain and snow, saying it's improved the air quality for everyone.