Dubai floods Experts dismiss cloud seeding as reason for extreme rainfall

Dubai floods

Climate experts believe that cloud seeding is not behind the heavy rainfall in Dubai. A storm hit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman this week bringing record rainfall.

Cloud seeding is a process in which chemicals are implanted into clouds to increase rainfall in an environment where water scarcity is a concern. The UAE, which is one of the hottest and driest regions in the world, has been leading the effort to seed clouds and increase precipitation

There have been concerns that cloud seeding could have caused the heavy rain which then led to floods in the city. However, experts believe this is not the case.

Speaking to the news agency Associated Press on Thursday (Apr 18), experts said that with cloud seeding, it may rain, but it doesn't really pour or flood. "It's most certainly not cloud seeding. If that occurred with cloud seeding, they'd have water all the time. You can't create rain out of thin air per se and get six inches of water. That's akin to perpetual motion technology," said Ryan Maue, a private meteorologist.

  •  What is cloud seeding?

It is a weather modification technique that improves a cloud's ability to produce rain or snow by introducing tiny ice nuclei into certain types of subfreezing clouds, the Desert Research Institute (DRI) states. Cloud seeding can be done from ground-based generators or aircraft. Though this method is decades old, it is still controversial in the weather community as its effectiveness remains unclear.

Dozens of countries in Asia and the Middle East use this method.

As per the AP report, atmospheric science researcher Tomer Burg pointed to computer models that six days earlier forecast several inches of rain - the typical amount for an entire year in the UAE

University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann told the news agency that blaming cloud seeding (for the floods in Dubai) ignores the forecast. Mann and other scientists also said that people pointing to cloud seeding (being the reason behind the flooding) are also climate change deniers who are trying to divert attention from what's really happening.

  • What caused the heavy rainfall? 

Experts said that the heavy rainfall in the UAE was likely due to a normal weather system that was exacerbated by climate change. Esraa Alnaqbi, a senior forecaster at the UAE government's National Centre of Meteorology, told the news agency Reuters that a low-pressure system in the upper atmosphere, coupled with low pressure at the surface had acted like a pressure 'squeeze' on the air

Alnaqabi said that the squeeze, intensified by the contrast between warmer temperatures at ground level and colder temperatures higher up, created the conditions for the powerful thunderstorm