- The United Arab Emirates are creating artificial rainstorms to battle the heat.
- In an alternative version to cloud seeding, the Middle Eastern country used drones to send electrical charges into clouds, forcing rainfall.
- The method ensures the creation of larger raindrops that are less likely to evaporate before they hit the ground.
The United Arab Emirates has started using drones to create artificial rainstorms in an effort to battle the heat, CBS News reported. Footage shared by UAE’s National Center of Meteorology showed heavy rain in the typically hot country. According to the news report, UAE usually receives only about four inches of rain a year.
The country’s alternative version to the rain-making technology called “cloud-seeding” involved using drones that blast clouds with electrical charges. This forces them to drop heavy rain.
“Understanding more about how rain forms, and with the potential to bring much-needed relief to arid regions, is an extraordinary scientific achievement,” Professor Robert Van de Noort from the United Kingdom’s University of Reading explained in a May press release.
“Of course, our ability to manipulate weather is puny compared to the forces of nature. We are mindful that we as a University have a big role to play, by working with global partners to understand and help prevent the worst effects of climate change,” he added.
Researchers explained to BBC back in March that even with little rainfall, UAE has “plenty” of cloud coverage, which allows for these tests. Keri Nicoll, a project investigator, told CNN that the team started the tests near Dubai earlier this year.
The technique, which uses electrical charges, helps small water droplets merge with bigger ones to create larger raindrops that are less likely to evaporate in the heat before they hit the ground.
Nicoll told CNN in May, “What we are trying to do is to make the droplets inside the clouds big enough so that when they fall out of the cloud, they survive down to the surface.”
The news reports expressed hope that the technology could present an environmentally viable answer to water security.
However, the process is still open for debate. Some researchers expressed concerns that cloud-seeding in one area could take away the rain from another location.
Nicoll told CNN, “There’s still a long way to go to definitively see how effective cloud seeding weather modification is at enhancing rainfall.”