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Thai Monarch Patents Rainmaking Technique

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been granted a patent Monday for developing a more efficient artificial rainmaking technique. This is the monarch's fourth patent for an invention.

King Bhumibol has received a patent for a better way to seed clouds to induce rainfall. The technique, called a "Super Sandwich," uses two airplanes introducing chemicals to both warm and cold clouds at different altitudes.

The new seeding system makes rain over a wider area than previous methods and can help more accurately determine where the rain will fall. This will benefit farmers in drought areas and help build up water reservoirs.

Local press report Indonesia and several Middle East nations have sought details of the new rain making technique. Officials at Thailand's Intellectual Property Department say they plan to register the patent abroad.

Bruce Lockhart, an expert on the Thai monarchy at the National University of Singapore, said the new rain making technique is just another example how strongly King Bhumibol feels the royal monarchy needs to be useful to the country.

"There's a lot of pressure on monarchies in most countries to continue to be useful, to be relevant, and he certainly has made it so in a Thai context," Mr. Lockhart said.

The patent was given to the King at his seaside home in Hua Hin. It is the fourth patent to be awarded to the versatile Thai monarch, who is also involved in several environmental and agricultural projects.

The 75-year-old king has been on the throne since 1946. He is revered by the Thais as caring about the lives of ordinary people.