Some residents of the UAE believe that the country’s cloud-seeding program is responsible for the heavy rainfalls that have been hitting the country recently. However, despite the various techniques that have been used to enhance the weather, experts still do not understand how to encourage the development of rain. Several areas in the country, including Al Ain, Ras Al Khaimah, and Fujairah, have experienced heavy downpours. At the beginning of July, there was also flooding in some parts of Abu Dhabi.
What is cloud seeding?
In order to properly seed the clouds, experts need to conduct a lot of scientific studies. For instance, it is not as simple as sending planes into the clouds to release chemicals. In addition to this, the cloud seeding process also involves various factors that can affect the weather. For instance, if you change the composition of the cloud, it can have a significant effect on the weather. According to Lulin Xue, a scientist from China, the effects of this process can be very complex to study and measure.
How effective is cloud seeding?
One of the most common factors that can affect the weather is the type of cloud that forms. According to Lulin, different types of clouds, such as those that are located over mountains, react differently to the seeding efforts. In addition to this, the size of the particles that are deposited into the clouds can also have a significant effect on the rainfall. However, since the quantity of the seeds that are delivered does not translate into more rain, the effectiveness of the cloud seeding program is still not known.
The whole process can backfire, which means less rain would have been able to fall if the program had not been carried out. Scientists are currently working on developing computer simulations that will help them understand the optimal technique for each cloud type. However, due to the complexity of the process, experts are not sure if they will ever be able to fully master it. For instance, according to Lulin, he doesn’t know how the technology will develop in the future. He noted that it is very difficult to measure how much rain the country has received as a result of the cloud seeding program.
How does cloud seeding in the UAE work?
According to Lulin, the development of clouds in the UAE is complex due to the various components that can affect their formation. For instance, if a cloud forms close to a mountain, it can become static as it moves. On the other hand, if it forms far from a mountain, it can develop into a moving cloud.
Besides the presence of sea salt and dust, other factors such as aerosol and dust can also affect the development and composition of clouds. Due to the complexity of the process, it is still not clear how effective the program is. It is hoped that by 18 months, the work of Mr Lulin and other scientists will yield a more complete understanding of how the country’s ongoing cloud seeding program is affecting the weather. However, for now, he is not able to provide a specific figure on how much extra rain the program has produced.
Although the seeding program can help in the development of the weather, he noted that it is not enough to just rely on the process to produce large amounts of rain. For instance, natural conditions are needed to ensure that the precipitation that is generated by the process can be beneficial.
Although cloud seeding can help improve the weather in the UAE, it is not yet clear how much. Not every country has the same issues as the UAE, which is usually arid. For instance, according to Dr. Graham, a meteorologist based in the UK, Scotland is experiencing an unusual amount of rainfall. He noted that although it is getting more wet, it is still feeling like it is getting too dry. He said that if people are feeling like the weather is too dry in the country, then they should “do some business.”