Atmospheric Resource Board

The Atmospheric Resource Board (ARB) is a quasi-judicial, quasi-legislative advisory and rule-making board under the supervision of the Water Commission. ARB is co-located with the Department of Water Resources and functions as one of its divisions. The primary functions of the ARB are to:

  • Carry out administrative procedures required for the licensing of weather modification contractors and the permitting of cloud seeding operations and research activities;
  • Develop and maintain a system for the collection of data and records of all operational weather modification activities;
  • Conduct research into atmospheric precipitation processes to assess and improve the effectiveness of cloud seeding technology;
  • Promulgate rules and regulations governing cloud seeding activities to ensure environmental and public safety;
  • Monitor and evaluate cloud seeding activities and report back to sponsoring entities; and
  • Monitor, collect, and disseminate accurate precipitation and climate data.
  • Educate and provide information regarding the atmosphere and atmospheric processes.

Cloud Seeding Has Significant Positive Effects On Crop Yields And Improved Loss Ratios

Michigan State University Professor Dr. Mark Skidmore and Graduate Student Scott Knowles recently evaluated the North Dakota Cloud Modification Project (NDCMP) and its effects on crop yields. Using 30 years of USDA Risk Management Agency data, their analysis sought to determine if there was any difference in crop yields (wheat and barley) and insurance loss ratios for NDCMP project counties versus surrounding counties not involved in the program.

For the 1989-2018 period, they found that average annual wheat yields in seeded counties were 13 percent higher than wheat yields in non-seeded counties. In the words of the authors, “Our evaluation indicates that the cloud seeding program had significant positive effects on crop yields and improved loss ratios.” A further analysis of economic benefits found a benefit to cost ratio of more than 36 to 1.

If you would like to read this study, you can find it at the website for the American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Climate, and Society.

Real-time Weather Radar

ARB operates weather radars at the Bowman and Stanley airports during the summer months for the NDCMP. Radar images are updated every 5 minutes 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The counties of Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Fallon (MT), Golden Valley, Harding (SD), Slope and Stark cost-share the operations of the Bowman radar for the remainder of the year.

ARB and the Department of Water Resources also host the data and display for the new radar owned by Williams County.

View animations of the most recent images, or select dates and times within the last 3 months of historical data using the graphical link in the navigation section of this page. It will be to the right or on the bottom, depending on the device you are using.

Cloud Seeding Provides Significant Economic Impacts

A recent study from the NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics (Bangsund and Hodur, 2019) describes the significant economic benefits cloud seeding provides to agricultural production in the western North Dakota counties of Bowman, McKenzie, Mountrail, part of Slope, Ward and Williams. Average annual benefits for the nine crops included in the study range from $12.20 to $21.16 per planted acre for the years 2008-2017. Considering cloud seeding operations cost about $0.40 per planted acre, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

The Atmospheric Reservoir

Thunderstorm and flanking line
Thunderstorm and flanking line

Read the latest article examining the atmosphere and atmospheric resource management in the North Dakota Water magazine. Articles are published 10 times a year, monthly except February and August.

ARB Recruiting Observers to Report Precipitation

We are recruiting volunteers to observe and report precipitation across North Dakota. Volunteers have the option of participating in the ARB Cooperative Observer Network (ARBCON), either year-round, or only during the months of April-September. If you or someone you know have any interest in volunteering, contact us at (701) 328-2788, or via email.

Meetings of the Atmospheric Resource Board

UPDATED - April 24, 2024 / 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (CDT) / Public Notice
online via Microsoft Teams and Hardmeyer Hall, 1200 Memorial Highway, Bismarck, ND. Please note this meeting was moved from April 11th to the 24th.

November 12, 2024 / 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (CST) / Public Notice
Lewis & Clark Room and online via Microsoft Teams, 1200 Memorial Highway, Bismarck, ND

The ND Public Meeting Notices web application is utilized for posting the ARB meeting schedule. Once in the meeting system, under the dialog box Public Entity, click on "Atmospheric Resource Board, ND". You can get all meeting notices via email if you click the link "Subscribe to Email Notifications" and complete the subsequent form.

For information, please contact Kelli Schroeder at (701) 328-2789 or by e-mail.