The effects of climate change are being felt around the world and in the Middle East, where rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall threaten the habitability of the region, the situation is particularly dire. Scientists in the UAE are taking a new approach to this problem and are testing a type of rain-inducing technology that uses electrical shocks to trigger rain production.
This project was developed by researchers at the University of Reading, one of nine different rain-encouraging projects the UAE funded in 2017. Researchers found that when droplets have a positive or negative charge, smaller droplets will become more likely to combine with others to create big raindrops. In areas with a high temperature and high cloud cover, smaller drops often evaporate before they fall.
Using electrical charges, researchers are able to actually propagate rainfall. This method is preferred to existing methods like dumping silver iodide into clouds from manned aircraft due to the smaller environmental footprint.
Although we must always be cautious with altering our natural environment, cloud seeding may “offer a viable, cost-effective supplement to existing water supplies,” especially as the globe faces a decreasing water supply in future years, the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology said.