Tag Archives: Cloud Seeding

Artificial Rain

Artificial Raindrops keep falling on my head !

It’s been a really cloudy day today around Dubai, with showers in parts of the city. Will stop sounding like a weatherman on the radio and get to the point. The point that I am trying to make is that the rain that is currently expected in Dubai may or may not be created naturally. Is that even possible you ask ?? Of course it is. The process is called Cloud Seeding and people have been trying it in India from years. What is really concerning is not the current sort of expected rain for this time of the year, the issue is a bit more larger.

Apparently the Abu Dhabi government has been asking their scientists to experiment with cloud seeding during the summer months. And believe you me, the experiments are working. Fifty rainstorms were created last year in the state’s eastern Al Ain region using technology designed to control the weather. Most of the storms were at the height of the summer in July and August when there is  no rain at all. The scientists have been working secretly for United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. They have been using giant ionisers, shaped like stripped down lampshades on steel poles, to generate fields of negatively charged particles. These promote cloud formation and researchers hoped they could then produce rain. In a confidential company video, the founder of the Swiss company in charge of the project, Metro Systems International, boasted of success. Helmut Fluhrer said: ‘We have achieved a number of rainfalls.’ It is believed to be the first time the system has produced rain from clear skies, according to the Sunday Times.

In the past, countries like India and China have been utilizing chemicals for the sake of Cloud seeding, it’s the first time that there is a sort of a non chemical approach to cloud seeding. Last June Metro Systems built five ionising sites each with 20 emitters which can send trillions of cloud-forming ions into the atmosphere. Over four summer months the emitters were switched on when the required atmospheric level of humidity reached 30 per cent or more. While the country’s weather experts predicted no clouds or rain in the Al Ain region, rain fell on FIFTY-TWO occasions.

So how does it actually work ?

The Metro System scientists used ionisers to produce negatively charged particles called electrons. They have a natural tendency to attach to tiny specks of dust which are ever-present in the atmosphere in the desert-regions. These are then carried up from the emitters by convection – upward currents of air generated by the heat release from sunlight as it hits the ground. Once the dust particles reach the right height for cloud formation, the charges will attract water molecules floating in the air which then start to condense around them. If there is sufficient moisture in the air, it induces billions of droplets to form which finally means cloud and rain.

The cost savings using the Weathertec technology are huge with the system costing £6 million a year while desalination is £45 million. Building an ionising system is about £7 million while a desalination plant would be £850 million and costs a lot more to run.

But in the long run what effect this might have in the entire global picture of the planet, global warming, and such we don’t really know. Is it good ? well if technology is non chemical, non toxic, cost saving, and life giving then I will say yes. Only until we find the downside to it, for now it might seem too good to be true without side effects. What do you guys think?

Some references of further reading for people who are interested:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/03/scientists-create-52-artificial-rain-storms-in-abu-dhabi-desert/

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/abu-dhabi-backed-scientists-create-fake-rainstorms-in-11m-project-371038.html

http://www.itp.net/518649-further-unseasonal-bad-weather-hits-uae