With temperatures in Dubai regularly surpassing 115 degrees Fahrenheit, the government has decided to take control of the scorching weather. Scientists in the United Arab Emirates are making it rain — artificially — using electrical charges from drones to manipulate the weather and force rainfall across the desert nation. Meteorological officials released video footage this week showing a downpour over Ras al Khaimah, as well as several other regions. — CBS News
Called cloud seeding, this is a weather-modification technique that aims to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds by artificially adding substances, called condensation nuclei, to the atmosphere. Given dwindling water sources, increasing temperatures, and a rising population, the United Arab Emirates hopes to regularly use this method to increase rainfall.
Based on research at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, scientists created the storms using drones, which jolted clouds with electricity, causing droplets in the clouds to clump together. The larger raindrops are then able to fall to the ground, instead of evaporating midair, which is what occurs to smaller droplets in such a hot climate.
In 2017, the researchers at the university received $1.5 million for use over three years from the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science. According to The Washington Post, the program has invested in at least nine different research projects over the past five years. The country’s total investment in this research currently totals $15 million.