Dubai, the land of excitement, possibility, and the unimaginable, is extremely hot and absurdly dry. On average, Dubai sees temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (100+ in June through September) and averages just three inches of rain per year.

This is why when I heard Dubai might build a mountain to induce rainfall, I was the least bit surprised. Arabian Business published a story explaining how a team of researchers and scientists from the United States are heading up the project.

Experts from the US-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are in the “detailed modelling study” phase, NCAR scientist and lead researcher Roelof Bruintjes told Arabian Business.

“What we are looking at is basically evaluating the effects on weather through the type of mountain, how high it should be and how the slopes should be,” said Bruintjes. “We will have a report of the first phase this summer as an initial step.”

In collaboration with the National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS), the UCAR received a fund of $400,000 in February last year to propose a “detailed modelling study evaluating the effects of building a mountain on the weather”.

In my opinion this is an extremely smart move. Dubai is only growing and over the past decade the population and overall “people traffic” has absolutely boomed. With the increase in traffic comes growing stress on the water supply and the number of people dependent on it. Not to mention, staying hydrated in 90+ degrees every single day has to increase water consumption threefold, if not more.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been seeding clouds to stimulate rainfall and just last year spent over $500,000 USD on these operations. According to Arabian Business:

The planes fire potassium chloride, sodium chloride and magnesium into the clouds. The main effective materials are potassium and sodium, which allow vapour in the clouds to transform into liquid. Each operation takes between two and three hours.

In addition to the cloud seeding, there are a half dozen water desalination plants currently being operated in the UAE.

This is a stark reminder of the situation in not just Dubai, but the entire UAE, though I think it’s fantastic that authorities there are trying to stay ahead of the curve.

Now if only Venice can figure out its flooding problem…


(H/T: Washington Post)