The Hot Summer Months Are ACTUALLY Really Good For Dubai's Cloud Seeding Plans

Embrace the heat


You're probably thinking summer and good do NOT go together. Well, they do. And it's for good reason. This season is best for harvesting rain in the UAE, and the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology runs cloud seeding flights four days per week. A number that's higher than what it does in winter months.

If you don't know much about cloud seeding...

It is basically a form of weather modification. The idea is to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds (increase rain or snow). This is done by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation, and they alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.

UAE started cloud seeding in the 1990s

It generally happens in the mountainous areas in the north of the country. The government is looking into cloud seeding as an alternative to desalination plants which are harmful to the environment and expensive. Though, currently these plants are becoming the major source of water in the UAE.

So why is summer a good time for this?

Sufian Farrah, meteorologist and cloud seeding expert at the centre, explains, "It's because in summer months the monsoon drafts, which traps moisture into the atmosphere".

How does the process work?

The centre has set up 74 automatic weather stations across the country. They measure the elements that are important to cloud seeding - weather conditions, atmospheric pressure, wind direction and speed and global solar radiation. Plus they have a second generation satellite that watches and monitors the region's air mass, fog, storms and thunderstorms. 

Once a 'good' cloud is found, their Beach Craft King Air C 90 airplane is sent out to seed the cloud, where the pilot releases flares at its base containing salts. In 15-20 minutes, the reaction to the salts is produced and it starts to rain.

This video should explain it

The results

Since its start 16 years ago, dusty areas have seen an increase of rainfall by 10 to 15%. On the other hand cleaner areas have seen an increase of rainfall from cloud seeding by 30 to 35%.

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