Dubai Makes Artificial Rain With Weather Modification

The number of research on creating rainfalls by developing artificial methods in regions with pretty low average annual precipitation is increasing rapidly. Dubai is the most recent example, where the studies have been successfully conducted. Creating artificial precipitation has been a research topic here since 2017. In the city that has clocked a temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, rainfalls have been made by applying cloud seeding. The first cloud seeding practices go back to the 1940s.

The National Center of Meteorology has achieved to generate artificial rain in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which is among the 10 driest countries in the world and has an average annual precipitation of only 78 millimeters. Rain was made artificially by giving electrical charges from drones to clouds. Heavy rainfalls have been seen in the region where the cloud seeding technology was implemented. It was reported that car drivers had trouble seeing the road because of the rain. In his explanation of the cloud seeding technology, Professor Maarten Ambaum, one of the experts working on the project, said: “When the drops merge and are big enough, they will fall as rain”. The study, in which the clouds are triggered to create a downpour, is run together with the experts at the University of Reading, England. It is said that this study is a part of a 15 million dollar project that started in 2017 and has been continuing since then to generate rainfalls in the country.

How does the cloud seeding method work?

Cloud Seeding stands out as a weather modification method used to affect the microphysical processes within clouds by spraying various chemicals, particularly silver iodide, into them to change the amount and type of precipitation. To “control the climate”, China is using the “cloud seeding” method as well. The clouds are seeded with a substance called silver iodide that triggers rain. Cloud seeding is not only used to enhance precipitation but also to clear fog.

The modern era of scientific weather modification

The first cloud seeding practices started in the 1940s. The experiments carried out by Schaefer, Vonnegut and Langmuir in the laboratories of General Electric Company, USA, in 1946 and 1947, have demonstrated that certain materials are effective in transforming supercooled liquid water droplets into ice crystals. Vincent Schaefer and Irving Langmuir observed that when dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) was dropped into a cloud composed of supercooled liquid water droplets, the droplets were replaced by ice crystals. By merging with each other, these new ice crystals could grow large enough to fall out of the clouds as precipitation. The experiments conducted by Vonnegut have shown that the most effective ice nucleators are silver and lead iodide (AgL and PbL). The discoveries of Schaefer and Vonnegut mark the beginning of the modern era of scientific weather modification.

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Iğdır Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü Dergisi, Cilt: 3, Sayı: 1, Sayfa: 31-40.