This warm country is using drones to make it rain!4 min readReading Time: 3 minutes
What comes to mind when you think of the Middle East? Deserts, camels, oil, riches, perfumes and more? Yes, yes, yes and yes. But another very defining characteristic of some of the countries in this region is how hot it gets there!
In fact, research says that due to extreme heat, the Middle East could become unliveable by 2050 due to rising temperatures and a decrease in groundwater levels.
Groundwater is fresh water (from rain or melting ice and snow) that soaks into the soil and is stored in the tiny spaces between rocks and particles of soil.
Where all else fails, technology swoops in, just like it did in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE came up with a unique solution to their rising temperatures — electrical charge-shooting drones that could help induce rainfall.
What is a drone?
An unmanned aerial vehicle or uncrewed aerial vehicle, commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew or passengers on board.
Drones making it rain?
We humans have tried various strategies over the years to coax rain from the sky. In the last few decades, these efforts have become more sophisticated thanks to advancements in technology. We’ve used dynamite, silver iodide, and small particles injected into clouds via planes. The UAE, however, has gone a step further.
Footage recently released by the UAE weather agency shows heavy rain falling in the desert. The droplets are apparently the result of an experiment using drones. Using unmanned drones that discharge electricity in the midst of storm clouds, has helped create this rain.
Some scientists and environmental activists have raised concerns over the use of chemicals and other components that may be harmful to the environment in the creation of clouds and artificial rain.
(The Twitter video below shows the heavy rain that was created using drones)
Clouds are made up water droplets that are too tiny to fall out of the sky. The electrical charges discharged by the drones make those small droplets collide and condense into bigger ones, that do eventually get heavy enough to fall as rain.
Rain falls from the clouds, but how does that work exactly? Watch the video below if you’re confused about where rain comes from!
In a country like the UAE, however, even drops that are big enough to fall as rain can often evaporate before reaching the ground owing to the very low humidity in the region. The electrical charging technique could help fatten those droplets up enough to reach the desert floor.
Owliver’s Obscure Observations
Making fake rain or ‘cloud seeding’
Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique that improves a cloud’s ability to produce rain or snow, artificially.
The Middle East is getting hotter!
The Middle East could definitely use a little more rain. Interestingly, the UAE has one of the highest water consumption rates in the world per person, according to the US International Trade Administration. This has put more pressure on the country’s resources. According to government figures, the country desalinates 42% of its water — an expensive and intense process. Cloud seeding could help take some of the strain of desalination plants.
Desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, such as sea water or the soil.
The country is also expected to heat up drastically. If things continue the way they are, the country could go up by 2.4 degrees Celsius by mid-century alone, according to data collected by the World Bank.
Sources: CNBC TV18, Gizmodo, Independent