Dubai deploys rainmaking drone swarm to combat 50C heatwave – WATCH | World | News
Dubai has seen heavy rainfall sweep the city thanks to the deployment of specially designed ‘rainmaking’ drones. The United Arab Emirates regularly sees hot and humid summers with temperatures reaching in excess of 50C. UAE meteorologists have been tasked with designing a way of creating artificial rain in order to make up for these arid conditions. The city’s National Center of Meteorology has found a solution in drones carrying electric payloads which trigger water droplets to form in clouds.
The technology in use in Dubai is known as cloud-seeding and sees electricity used to charge clouds, pushing multiple to come together in a clump and produce rain.
Cloud-seeding has been utilised in UAE since 2017 in various forms.
Dramatic results have come from this latest cloud-seeding venture with footage released by UAE’s National Center of Meteorology showing roads and streets drenched in heavy downpours.
Footage shows cars making their way along motorways amid a massive deluge in a city that normally sees meager annual rainfall.
One of the main architects of the Dubai drone programme spoke to Arab News to explain how the devices functioned.
Alya Al-Mazroui, director of the UAE’s rain-enhancement science-research program said: “Equipped with a payload of electric-charge emission instruments and customised sensors, these drones will fly at low altitudes and deliver an electric charge to air molecules, which should encourage precipitation.”
While Professor Maarten who also worked on the project told the BBC in March that the drones were needed urgently as the water table in the UAE was sinking.
“The water table is sinking drastically in [the] UAE and the purpose of this is to try to help with rainfall,” he said.
He explained that the static charge delivered by the drones caused the water molecules in the rainclouds to stick together “like dry hair to a comb.”
Prof Ambaum added: “When the drops merge and are big enough, they will fall as rain.”
Recent studies into the effectiveness of cloud seeding have suggested the technology can boost rainfall by as high as 35 percent.
However, the overall effectiveness of the pioneering tech has been called into question by some academics.
China and India have also turned to cloud seeding in recent years in a desperate move to ward off devastating droughts during the annual dry season.
In Dubai, the sudden influx of wet weather was said to have caused disruption on the roads.
Strong winds and rain reportedly created difficulty for local drivers unfamiliar with the wet conditions.
Residents of the city have been advised the unsettled weather is likely to continue through the rest of the week.