What is drone cloud seeding that Dubai uses to get rain?

The torrential rains that yesterday and today have fallen in the United Arab Emirates have left a series of surprising scenes in a country with a desert climate and temperatures that in summer They can exceed 50 degrees. The activity in the capital, Dubaiwas paralyzed, traffic stopped moving through the flooded streets and Dubai International Airport had to close.

The meteorological phenomenon, however, was not completely natural but the result of cloud seeding carried out by the National Meteorological CenterNCM for its acronym in English, in the previous days.

According to Bloomberg, the NCM carried it out between Sunday and Monday to take advantage of convective cloud formations that had occurred. “For any cloud that is suitable in the UAE, the operation is carried out,” said the meteorologist Ahmed Habib in the middle.

Cloud seeding has been around for several decades and consists of adding certain substances or chemicals, such as silver iodide, to existing clouds to induce rain. In the United States, there are eight states that perform it and there are companies such as Weather Modification Inc. that offer this type of service. The main risk of these methods is the effect of the particles used when they fall on people, crops and drinking water.

How the UAE seeds clouds using drones

The UAE, a country where the average rainfall does not reach 100 millilitershave invested more than 15 million dollars in a total of 9 projects to get rain from 2017. The first 8 have used traditional cloud seeding methods, but the latest of these, started more than two years ago, takes a different approach.

Instead of scattering particles as is done in traditional cloud seeding, specialized drones, designed by scientists at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, which are equipped with a payload of electrical emission instruments and custom sensors. They fly at low altitude to charge the clouds with electricity using concentrated lasers. In this way, the droplets of water to clump together creating larger drops and precipitating rain. It is, basically, electrocuting the clouds and the effects are visible.