Dubai administrators are employing drones to create artificial rainfall as the city battles scorching heat that has reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius).
The UAE’s National Center of Meteorology uploaded video on Sunday, July 18 showed lightning as well as heavy rainfall flooding highways, as a result of the artificial rain.
‘Cloud seeding’ is a rainmaking technique that seeks to make rain develop more effectively within clouds, allowing more water to fall. According to the New York Post, clouds were forced to group together and produce more rain after drones fire electrical charges into them.
“Equipped with a payload of electric-charge emission instruments and customised sensors, these drones will fly at low altitudes and deliver an electric charge to air molecules, which should encourage precipitation.” director of the UAE’s rain-enhancement science project Alya Al-Mazroui said in a March interview with Arab News.
The UAE’s cloud-spotting processes are part of a $15 million (£10.8 million) mission to create rain. According to the Daily Mail, this Middle East country is placed among the top ten driest nations on the planet with an average rainfall of just three inches (78 millimeters)—15 times less than what falls in an average year in the UK.
The UAE has primarily relied on desalination—the process of removing salt from seawater to make it potable—to meet its growing water demand, which has been fueled by rapid economic expansion and a large number of employees.
According to a 2013 assessment by the environment and water ministry, the UAE has 33 desalination units that supply 42% of the country’s needs. Rainfall induced by cloud seeding is much affordable than the desalination technique, said NCMS’s head of research, Omar al-Yazeedi.
He claims that four days of torrential rain created by cloud seeding in 2010 produced heavy rains comparable to the output of a sole desalination factory in Abu Dhabi for nine years.
Cloud seeding can boost the quantity of rainfall by 5 to 70 percent, based on the nature of the clouds following some research, Omar al-Yazeedi continued.
Although there was some ambiguity about its efficiency, the American Meteorological Society stated in 2010 that “large potential benefits can warrant relatively small investments to conduct operational cloud seeding.”
Ways to keep rain that does fall on the ground from evaporating or flowing into the sea is also being researched by the UAE authorities.
Dams and lakes have been constructed to collect water that would otherwise flood parched valleys. According to the ministry research, the country has over 130 dams and levees with a total reservoir capacity of around 120 million cubic meters (almost four billion cubic feet).
‘We do not want to waste a drop of water’, said NCMS executive director Abdulla al-Mandoos.