How one of the world’s hottest countries is making it rain

Poppy Bilderbeck

Published 
| Last updated 

How one of the world’s hottest countries is making it rain

Featured Image Credit: Anthony Devlin Photography / Alamy Stock Photo / Instagram / @officialuaeweather

Scientists have been creating fake rain in one of the hottest and driest places on Earth. 

This summer has been one of the hottest on record for many countries. Scorching temperatures have led to devastating wildfires, even in areas such as Greece as well as the UK.

The lack of rain led to regional hosepipe bans and the recent rain this week has been welcomed with open arms.

But what would you do if you lived in a country where the rainfall averages at around two inches per year?

Well, a group of scientists decided if they weren't getting rain naturally, they'd get cracking and get the job done themselves.

Between 2020 and 2021, the amount of rainfall per year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) decreased from '70.46 mm (2.77 inches) to 51.46 mm (2.02 inches),' according to Trading Economics.

Whereas the temperature in the UAE rose from 2020 to 2021, from 28.38ºC to 29.08ºC.

In order to combat the rising temperatures and lack of rain relief, scientists decided to take matters into their own hands and give nature a helping hand.

According to UAE Nation on TikTok there have been 'some cloud seeding operations' taking place across the Emirates over the last few years - with some as recently as this summer.

"Cloud seeding simply means encouraging clouds to produce more rain by shooting salt flares into the clouds using an aircraft," the video explains.

The science behind it? Chemicals, such as silver iodide, potassium iodide or solid carbon dioxide, are dispersed into the clouds to stimulate rain production.

The chemicals are dropped into clouds via aircraft or ground-based generators.

Another process which has been used by the UAE is the deliverance of electric charges to air particles or infrared laser pulses.

UAE Nation's TikTok goes on to highlight the positive effect cloud seeding can have not only when there's a heatwave, but also how the technology can 'increase the water security in the UAE'.

However, the process has had mixed feedback, with some opposing the technology because of seeing it as 'tampering with nature'.

Cloud-seeding expert Arlen Huggins, an associate research scientist in the division of atmospheric sciences at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, argued that the 'problem with saying it's unnatural is that as a human species, since we first set foot on the planet—or at least since we started burning fossil fuels—we've been modifying weather systems on a much larger scale than cloud-seeding projects'.

He told Scientific American: "We actually get more questions about the potentially harmful effects of chemicals like silver iodide. As a pollutant, silver iodide is almost overshadowed by smokestacks spewing kilotons of pollution, or by auto exhaust."

Other countries known to have deployed the technology include Australia and more recently, China, which used cloud-seeding planes last month in response to an intense heatwave.

Huggins explained how the technological process keeps returning because of the high demand for water and how it's 'always been seen as a cheap way to add additional water'.

However, he also noted how the best results for cloud seeding very much 'depends on where you are' and how much you're trying to increase the rain or snow fall, suggesting a '10 percent addition could do a lot'.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Topics: News, World News, Weather, Climate Change, Environment

Poppy Bilderbeck
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

Mysterious black hole has been found pointing directly at Earth blasting light at us

4 hours ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Fleetwood Mac vocalist Christine McVie has died aged 79

5 hours ago