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Earlier this week, meteorological officials for the United Arab Emirates shared video of considerable downpour in Ras al Khaimah, the northernmost part of the country. The rainfall was the result of a method deployed by the UAE where rainstorms are created by using drones to zap clouds with electricity, The Washington Post reports.
With temperatures reaching upwards of 115 degrees Fahrenheit and average rainfall totaling about four inches per year, the UAE wanted to find a way to alleviate the country’s scorching temperatures.
In 2017, the University of Reading in England received $1.5 million over the course of three years from the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science as part of its “quest to ensure water security.” The university determined that by launching a drone into the sky from a catapult, its sensors can relay such information as temperature and electrical charge within a cloud to scientists on the ground, who can then determine where exactly a jolt can be administered to achieve the desired effect.
Researchers aimed to create large raindrops since smaller droplets from high clouds typically evaporate before even hitting the ground because it’s so hot. “What we are trying to do is to make the droplets inside the clouds big enough so that when they fall out of the cloud, they survive down to the surface,” meteorologist and researcher Keri Nicoll told CNN.
According to the National Center of Meteorology, Dubai is one of the first countries to use the approach known as cloud seeding, while at least eight U.S. states have used a form of the technology.