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Environmental Tech: Cutting Edge Technology That’s Enhancing Rain In The UAE

With temperatures in Dubai regularly surpassing 46.1 degrees celsius, scientists in the UAE are testing a new method of cloud seeding by using drones, which zap clouds with electricity. Researchers found jolting droplets in the clouds can cause them to clump together. The larger raindrops that result then fall to the ground, instead of evaporating midair – which is often the fate of smaller droplets in the UAE, where temperatures are hot and the clouds are high. 

The UAE have invested more than USD$15 million on 9 ‘rain enhancement projects’ over the years, the first 8 of which used traditional cloud seeding methods. But the country is now taking a different approach in their quest for water security. 

Rather than dispersing particulates as done in traditional cloud seeding, the Emirati Weather Center is using drones to zap the air into submission. 

As cloud seeding missions can only be carried out with cumulus cloud formations, so once they are identified, the NCM will quickly launch aircrafts carrying salt crystals – mixed with magnesium, sodium chloride and potassium chloride – that are shot into the skies. The salt crystal flares then encourage the formation and release of cloud moisture, which then turns into precipitation.

By sending the aircraft to the cloud and targeting the updraft to seed it, small rain droplets become bigger and heavier, allowing it to fall to the ground. 

Cloud seeding is a weather-modification technique that aims to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from the cloud by artificially adding substances, called condensation nuclei, to the atmosphere. Apart from UAE, Indonesia has also used this technique in an attempt to combat a haze of air pollution blanketing Southeast Asia, while in Thailand, the rain-enhancement process was used to boost rainfall in water basins and agricultural areas. China currently has a wide cloud seeding system, as with the United States, where cloud seeding missions have been used to increase precipitation in areas experiencing drought and to reduce the size of hailstones found in thunderstorms. In India, successful rain enhancement operations were carried out to boost levels of rainfall in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra States. 

By Editorial Team / September 01, 2021

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