DNA Explainer: How did Dubai ‘beat the heat’ with artificial rains, read about cloud seeding – DNA India


Salt particles act as a core and draw water vapour into clouds which are then condensed into water droplets as a result of which raindrops are formed.

Written By

Edited By

Shampa Sen


DNA Web Desk

Updated: Jul 24, 2021, 04:54 PM IST

So how does Dubai beat the heat? But obvious with rains, except that it isn’t so real. As monsoon creates havoc in some parts of India, Dubai just created some artificial rainfall for itself. With temperatures soaring above 50 degrees, Dubai used the cloud seeding method to get some respite.

The United Arab Emirates’s National Center of Meteorology (NCM) used drones to coerce clouds into raining. For this, they charged clouds with electricity. In this process, drones are charged into the clouds to cause an electric shock due to which they clump together and cause rainfall. 

Extreme weather conditions are being observed in several parts of the world in continents including North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. Experts say climate change is to be blamed for such conditions.

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What is cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding is a method of inducing a cloud to produce rain. This technology was introduced in the UAE in the late 1990s.

Here, chemicals like silver iodide, potassium iodide, and dry ice are sent to the atmosphere through planes.

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These particles attract the water vapour in the air, leading to the formation of cumulonimbus clouds and finally rain.

It generally takes half an hour to produce rainfall by this method. Zapping the top layers gives the fastest results.

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Maharashtra: Cloud seeding again in Aurangabad

The time taken to generate rain depends on which portion of the cloud the chemicals are being injected into.

How Drones are used to induce rains

After the experts identify the cumulus clouds a drone is sent to spray water into warm clouds and drop ice into cold ones.

Drones are then sent over the cloud to spray particles of salts like silver iodide and chloride on clouds.

These salt particles act as a core and draw water vapour into the clouds which are then condensed into water droplets, as a result of which raindrops are formed.

The cloud seeding project by Dubai began in July 2010 and is worth a whopping USD 11 million.

Harmful effects on the environment

Scientists say that this method can lead to acidification of the oceans, ozone layer depletion, and an increase in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Silver is a heavy, toxic metal and it harms the health of plants, humans, and animals.

Cloud seeding is also a costly method. A foot of rainfall costs around USD 200.

Cost of cloud seeding

Experts suggest that the recent rainfall program could have cost Dubai USD 27 to USD 427 per acre-foot.

This artificial rainfall might have cost Dubai Rs 4.15 crores.