Abu Dhabi

The recent heavy rainfall in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has raised questions about the role of cloud seeding in triggering the severe flooding that occurred. In just 12 hours, the UAE received a year’s worth of rainfall, which caused widespread destruction to roads, homes, and even Dubai’s airport. There were dramatic scenes as residents navigated flooded streets on jet skis, planes landed amidst what appeared to be an ocean, and luxury cars were swept away by the deluge.

Some people have speculated online that cloud seeding, a technique used to artificially induce rainfall, may have contributed to the extreme weather event. Cloud seeding involves the dispersal of special substances, such as salt flares, into clouds to encourage the formation of rain droplets. Although cloud seeding has been used for many years to address water scarcity in regions like the UAE, its effectiveness and potential side effects remain a topic of debate among experts.

Meteorologists at the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology (NCM) have confirmed that they conducted cloud seeding operations before the rainfall. However, they have asserted that the seeding activities were not carried out during the severe weather event itself and emphasized the need to target clouds before precipitation occurs.

Despite advancements in cloud seeding technology, it is uncertain whether it played a role in the UAE’s flooding. Some scientists argue that although cloud seeding may enhance rainfall, it is unlikely to generate the amount of precipitation observed in this instance. Instead, they point to broader factors such as climate change as the primary driver of extreme weather events like intense storms and heavy rainfall.

Climate experts suggest that warmer sea temperatures, exacerbated by global warming, could have contributed to the sudden and intense downpours experienced in the UAE. As sea temperatures rise, the atmosphere’s capacity to hold moisture increases, leading to more significant rainfall events. Ultimately, while cloud seeding may play a role in localized precipitation, the broader context of climate change underscores the complexity of weather patterns and the need for comprehensive strategies to address environmental challenges.

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