This past summer, many big cities all around the globe experienced insufferable heat waves. One of the most notable cases is Dubai, UAE in which temperatures regularly reach 50C while there are just 4 inches of rainfall yearly. Researchers from the University of Reading created in cooperation with the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science artificial rain, which was used during late July to cool things down.
How it works?
The procedure used for the creation of artificial rain is called cloud seeding. Specifically, by using specialized high-tech drones that can sense the temperature and electric charge of the clouds’ scientists can zap them with a strong jolt of electricity, causing the release of rainfall. The technology works like ‘’dry hair to a comb’’ according to the experts. Also, they manipulate the size of the raindrops, making them big enough to survive the time needed to reach the ground.
Effectiveness and impact
Scientists continue to research and hope that in the future this method could be used in drought-prone regions such as Dubai, India, and China (where similar experiments have been conducted). At the moment, studies show that this form of weather manipulation can increase rainfall by 35%. It can also be used to prevent rainfall, and stop potential flooding, as seen in Jakarta, Indonesia last year. Finally, it is one of the innovative ideas that can help tackle climate change, by capturing carbon and lowering temperatures.
Concerns and possible dangers
As artificial rain is currently in an experimental phase there are concerns raised by scientists regarding some possible dangers of its use.
· The perpetuation of environmental injustices (if only large cities have access to this method)
· Floods (since the rate of rainfall is uncontrollable)
· Unpredictable effects of the chemicals used in cloud seeding on agriculture