Unusual artificial rain in the United Arab Emirates

To alleviate the scorching temperatures of the past few weeks, which have approached 50 degrees several times, the UAE government has artificially generated or increased heavy rain that flooded some roads, causing some problems for motorists. To favor these deposits, some techniques have been used rain cloudsThrough which certain chemical methods or agents are used that interact with clouds to stimulate the fall of rain or increase its amount.

The UAE is one of the countries with the lowest rainfall in the world, and since the 1990s the government has invested the equivalent of tens of millions of euros to develop this type of technology.

Techniques rain clouds consist in “seeding” (sowing, in fact) clouds containing jets of silver iodide or dry ice (carbon dioxide in the solid state) that are released from special aircraft at a certain altitude: in the right conditions and at the right humidity levels, these chemical agents favor condensation and thus cause precipitation Or make it more plentiful.

These methods have long been used in various countries including the United States and China: they not only increase rainfall, for example to facilitate farming, but also try to reduce pollution and get clearer skies, as it happened. 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the United Arab Emirates, operations are managed by the National Center of Meteorology, which among other things has the task of tracking promising clouds to be treated with these methods.

Last week, the National Center of Meteorology in the Emirates published on social media some videos of heavy rain that were favored by rain clouds: Pictures in stark contrast to the country’s usual climate, where 10 centimeters of rain falls annually.

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Another video shared by the National Center of Meteorology also shows a torrent of water making the road impassable for many motorists.

In 2017 alone, the government invested the equivalent of €12.6 million in nine different pilot projects, such as the one led by a team of researchers from the University of Reading (UK), which uses drones to deliver electric shocks into clouds to boost precipitation. .

Come I have explained to BBC A few months ago Professor Martin Ampumbaum, who worked on the Reading project, the plan was to use electricity to “coax the water droplets to join and stay cohesive” to create rain: a bit like what sometimes happens to dry, brushed hair caused by static electricity, Ambaum said.

According to the available data, between 180 and 245 flights per year have been made in the UAE in recent years rain clouds. Sunday news site Gulf today books That since the beginning of 2021, the National Center of Meteorology has operated at least 126 operations, including at least 14 during the previous five or six days.

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Currently projects rain clouds They have had some success in the Emirates, but many scientists suspect that these techniques could have a significant impact on rainfall, certainly not without significant risks or cost. some studies cite itdoes not depend on They have shown that rain clouds It can increase precipitation production by 5 to 70 percent, depending on cloud conditions; else quotes yes viceInstead, they showed that some of the ingredients in the chemicals used to seed clouds can be toxic to aquatic organisms, for example. At the same time, it was very difficult to understand whether the clouds that were planted would behave differently without human intervention.

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Anyway, how He said a the National Omar Ali Ezidi, an expert at the National Center of Meteorology, the biggest problem is that it is not possible to determine the chances of success of the operation and to understand which clouds will produce the most rain or the amount of rain that will fall in advance. For this, in addition to financing various projects from rain cloudsThe government is also investing in various facilities and technologies to conserve and treat the rainwater that falls without interference.

Harold Manning

"Infuriatingly humble social media ninja. Devoted travel junkie. Student. Avid internet lover."

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