Dubai is coping with its 125-degree heat by using laser-beam-shooting drones to shock rainwater out of clouds


The UAE is using drones to electrify clouds into producing rain in an effort to increase the amount of rainfall it gets per year. Shutterstock

  • Dubai is making it rain with drones that shoot laser beams into clouds to prompt rainfall.

  • This works like a cattle prod for clouds, forcing small water droplets together to create big ones.

  • Dubai gets four inches of rainfall per year and saw temperatures shoot up to 125 degrees in June.

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Dubai’s National Center of Meteorology has found a new way to make it rain. They’re using laser-beam-shooting drones to generate rainfall artificially.

Last week the country’s weather service posted two videos offering proof of the heavy downpours in Dubai’s streets.

Here’s how it works: The drones shoot laser beams into the clouds, charging them with electricity. The charge prompts precipitation by forcing water droplets together to create bigger raindrops, essentially electrifying the air to create rain.

This past March, the BBC reported that the UAE was looking to test the drone technology, which it developed in collaboration with the University of Reading in the UK.

Artificially generated rain is crucial because Dubai only gets an average of four inches of rainfall annually. This makes farming difficult and forces the country to import more than 80% of its food.

It also doesn’t help with the country’s sweltering temperatures. On June 6, for example, Dubai recorded a sweltering temperature high of 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dubai’s rainmaking technology is not entirely dissimilar from cloud seeding, which has been used in the US since 1923 to combat prolonged periods of drought. Cloud seeding requires crushed-up silver iodide, a chemical used in photography, to help create water clusters in the air.

According to a report by Forbes, the UAE has invested in nine rain enhancement projects over the last several years, which cost around $15 million in total. The bulk of those projects have involved traditional cloud seeding techniques.

Critics of the drone technology worry that it could unintentionally cause massive flooding. And they also worry about such a technology being privatized, per a Forbes report.

In the US, innovative solutions to the extreme effects of climate change have been explored. Billionaire Bill Gates is backing the development of a sunlight-dimming technology that might help to achieve a global cooling effect by reflecting the sun’s rays from the planet’s atmosphere.

In the meantime, more than 80 wildfires are blazing up across the US, devastating communities and destroying homes. On July 13, Death Valley in California recorded a temperature high of 128 degrees Fahrenheit the Earth’s hottest temperature record since 2017.

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