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combination of current cloud seeding method in the UAE and land modification to produce more clouds for more rainwater.



Category of the action

Mitigation/Adaptation, Changing public attitudes about climate change

What actions do you propose?

Nowadays, the UAE utilizes the method of cloud seeding, which involves infusing the clouds with silver iodide to speed up the process of rain formation. However, the fact that its efficiency is difficult to assess and the connection between its application and an increased precipitation is questionable (Mueller, 2016) dictates the need for the different approach. In this regard, it is possible to recommend focusing on the changing of the electric properties of the clouds in combination with the modification of the land cover. 

In the first case, the water drops in the cloud will become charged with the help of the unmanned vehicles, which will result in their growth due to the effects of the electromagnetic power (several smaller droplets will fuse to form a large one) and thus the emergence of raindrops (“UAE to explore innovative rain-inducing concept...,” 2017). On the other hand, the modification of the land cover through the creation of conditions suitable for the growth of vegetation such as grass will improve the overall water circulation due to the fact that plants actively consume the groundwater and partially evaporate it to the atmosphere (Perugini et al., 2017). In turn, it will contribute to the formation of the new clouds and, therefore, an increase in the supply of the available water. These methods are preferable due to their environmental-friendly nature, meaning that no residual waste, including chemicals, such as silver iodide, will be left in the process (“UAE to explore innovative rain-inducing concept...,” 2017).

At the same time, the rough climatic conditions of the UAE (arid weather and frequent sand storms) can affect the efficiency of the proposed project. In other words, the success of the creation of conditions suitable for the growth of vegetation is likely to be high only in the coastal areas of the country, where the climate is milder (Fares, 2016). Therefore, it is possible to propose an alternative course of actions to complement the changing of the electric properties of the clouds, which is based on terraforming, namely the creation of the artificial mountains. These have the ability to change the direction of the large currents of air, forcing them to go upwards. In turn, the latter become subject to condensation, resulting in the emergence of clouds that can be modified. The feasibility of such approach is supported by the considerable experience of the UAE in the field of terraforming (the creation of numerous artificial islands) (Fingas, 2016), as well as the specific geography of the country, with the large areas being occupied by desert and, therefore, not used for any particular purpose (Fares, 2016). Moreover, the overall mechanism of rain induction will remain the same in its nature (the generation of clouds through natural means with their subsequent modification), meaning that the residual waste will not be an issue. Finally, the described approach is likely to have an impact on the overall climate in the area, making it less arid (Fingas, 2016) and potentially creating the conditions for the growth of vegetation that will also contribute to increased precipitation in the country. In turn, the problem of water shortage will be addressed in the long-term perspective.

The implementation of the project is to consist of the following steps. First, it is necessary to create climatic and physical maps of the region to define the patterns of movement of the clouds over the country, as well as the improvements that are to be made to the land cover. The obtained data will be used to select a test site. Next, the teams of scientists and researchers will conduct the experiments involving the use of unmanned vehicles for cloud modification (“UAE to explore innovative rain-inducing concept...,” 2017), the enhancement of precipitation through an increase in vegetation in the area (Perugini et al., 2017), and the effects of the artificial mountains on the air currents. These teams are to exchange data on the constant basis to ensure that any dynamics in rainfall, as well as its facilitators, is identified. Finally, after the sufficient results are obtained, it will be possible to make a choice out of the two described alternatives (vegetation and terraforming) in the favor of the most efficient one, so that the plan of actions can be created and the project can be implemented at the scale of the entire country.

Who will take these actions?

Where will these actions be taken?

What are other key benefits?

The described measures are quite desirable due to the following reasons. First, as it was mentioned before, the country experiences the problem of scarcity of water, with rain-inducing technology being its most viable solution.The expected effects from the implementation of the proposed measures are as follows. First, the expenditures related to the transportation and sanitation of water will be reduced (less than $0.46 per cubic meter), thus lowering the strain on the country’s budget. The uncontrolled consumption of groundwater will also decrease (less than 2,000 million cubic meters per year). As a result, the quality and level of the latter are likely to improve. Given the fact that groundwater accounts for around 70% of the country’s water resources (Fares, 2016), one can state that the proposed project is important for the safety of the UAE.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time line

Related proposals


Fares, A. (2016). Emerging issues in groundwater resources. New York, NY: Springer. 

Fingas, J. (2016). The UAE wants an artificial mountain to increase rainfall. Engadget. Retrieved from 

Mueller, M. (2016). How the UAE is making it rain. Esquire Middle East. Retrieved from 

Perugini, L., Caporaso, L., Marconi, S., Cescatti, A., Quesada, B., Noblet-Ducoudre, N., ... Arneth, A. (2017). Biophysical effects on temperature and precipitation due to land cover change. Environmental Research Letters, 12(5), 1-13. 

UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science shortlists most promising proposals from its Third Cycle Submissions. (2017, May 2). Retrieved from 

UAE to explore innovative rain-inducing concept with leading meteorologists. (2017, April 24). Retrieved from