Rain in the desert: UAE uses electric charges to seed clouds artificially and produce rain


The UAE has posted pictures of rain lashing through the highways in Dubai, on its official weather page on Instagram. The scene is reminiscent of the monsoons that drench Southeast Asia in summer and not the Middle East. Well, the rain has been artificially created by zapping clouds with electric charges using drones. The parched landscape has been replaced with wet roads. The Independent reported that the rain was due to the drone seeding project.


The National News reported that country had conducted 200 cloud seeding operations in the first six months of 2021. According to reports faculty from the University of Reading had designed the drones.


In an earlier statement, the National Center of Meteorology said that its cloud seeding operations demonstrated the importance placed by the UAE on providing water resources that were sustainable. It also said that it encouraged research and innovation in different types of technology that were related to water.


Earlier, the Emirates used to get most of its water resources through desalination plants. However, the huge amounts of byproduct — brine had created problems when it was returned to the seas as the additional salinity impacted marine life.


Cloud seeding technology has been successfully used across the world in many countries including the U.S., China, India, and Thailand. The UAE is a pioneer in using this method in the region. According to the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement these new efforts were undertaken to increase water security. It has brought excessive rainfall to the country and region. It has improved the agriculture in the region and has also helped fill dams across the Emirates.


The UAE is traditionally a dry, parched country that receives an annual rainfall of 100 mm per year. It has invested a lot in cutting edge research to produce sufficient rainfall for both agriculture and day to day living. Earlier the country has used salt flares, but it has recently switched to a newer and possibly cleaner and more sustainable technology with the use of electricity.


Maarten Ambaum, one of the researchers on the latest cloud seeding using drones. told the BBC that the project aimed to change the balance of electric charge on the droplets in the cloud, resulting in droplet aggregation. When the droplets became big enough, they fell down from the skies as rain.

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