Dubai and other emirates in the United Arab Emirates are creating rain through cloud seeding technology, hoping to bring year-around precipitation to the sun-baked land.
I’ve been to Dubai several times over the years during the summer months. The weather is always the same: extremely hot, often with only scattered clouds in the sky. During my recent visit, a hot morning suddenly turned into a stormy afternoon and evening. I was on a boat and as the clouds rolled in, thunder emanated from them. When I commented on it, my host said:
“Oh yeah, they’re manipulating the weather here. They seed the clouds.”
Apparently, this is not new technology nor exclusive to Dubai. The UAE has been experimenting in weather manipulation for two decades. But I certainly saw it on display for the first time…and loved it.
According to the Khaleej Times:
Although cloud seeding, which the UAE adopted in the early 1990s, is not an exact science, the process of shooting salt flares into the clouds has increased the chance of rain in the country by 15-25 per cent.
Since January, the National Centre of Meteorology has conducted over 100 missions and the results have been fruitful: more rain has fallen. The UAE averages only about 100mm of water per year.
Khalid Mohamed Al Obeidli, head of cloud seeding at the National Centre of Meteorology, added:
More rainfall will help ease the water stress, and cloud seeding is cheaper (costs around 1 fil per cubic metre of water produced as compared to 60 fils needed to desalinate the same amount of water) and more environment-friendly than desalination.
(A fil is like a cent…100 fils = 1 dirham)
Scientists cannot create clouds, only manipulate clouds to become storm clouds. Seeding will continue this summer.
Dubai is actually a destination I like to avoid this time of year due to the intense heat. That said, if cloud seeding brings rains (without intense humidity) and more temperate weather, I think Dubai and other emirates would draw a lot more tourists during the summer months.
Have you experienced weather manipulation before in Dubai?