UAE testing drones that shock clouds into making rain

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

19 Mar 2021

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced plans to send drones up to the sky and shock clouds with electricity, in the hope that this will instigate them into producing rain.

The endeavour comes under the $15 million government funded nine rain-enhancement projects, which hopes to improve on the just 100mm per year average rainfall in the UAE.

Prof Maarten Ambaum, a scientist at the University of Reading, who are leading the project told the BBC: “The water table is sinking drastically in [the] UAE and the purpose of this is to try to help with rainfall” stressing that they [UAE] “have plenty of clouds”.

The UAE currently uses cloud-seeding technology, which is the process of dropping salt to increase precipitation. However, this has not produced enough rain for the country.

The drones are currently being evaluated and will start their tests soon near Dubai. If the study succeeds, more funding will be confirmed and the scientists may experiment with a larger aircraft and payload next.