Dubai is Creating Artificial Rain With Electrically-Charged Drones

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute project that by 2050, summer temperatures in parts of the Middle East and North Africa will stay above 86ºF (30ºC) during nighttime, and rise to 114ºF (46ºC) in the warmer seasons. The average rainfall in the UAE is also less than 4 inches (10 centimeters) a year.

In order to replenish strained aquifers, reduce the dependence on costly desalination plants for water, and lower scalding temperatures, the UAE has been working with researchers at the University of Reading for a solution. Unmanned drones that discharge electricity have been sent into clouds to encourage smaller water droplets to condense into bigger ones that eventually drop as rain.

This idea of cloud seeding has been around since 1923 and has been used by countries to alleviate air pollution and grow snow on mountaintops. However, in an interview with Gizmodo, Janos Pasztor, a Carnegie Council senior fellow and executive director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative warns that “such weather modification does not ‘produce’ rain as such. Rather, it makes rain happen somewhere, which means that it will not happen somewhere else. This immediately means that ecosystems and people living somewhere else where it would have rained will no longer get this rain.”

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