Dubai Is Using Laser Drones To Shock Rainwater Out Of The Sky
The United Arab Emirates have been hit particularly hard by this season’s sweltering heat, recording a 51.8°C this June (that’s over 125° Fahrenheit for the Americans in the room). What’s worse, Dubai receives a paltry 4-inches of rainfall annually, making summers unbearable and agriculture nearly impossible (the country imports more than 80% of its food). As people do their best to stay inside, cool, and hydrated, experts at the country’s National Center of Meteorology have introduced a novel technology to make a world of difference: using drones to force precipitation via laser beams.
The science is called cloud seeding, and it has existed in various forms for several decades. Adding certain substances or chemicals, such as silver iodide, to existing clouds can induce rain or snow. You might recall stories of efforts by China to ensure clear skies before the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, or an accident where Russia mistakenly dropped a very much non-powderized block of cement onto some poor Muscovite home.
Given that the byproducts of these weather altering missions will quite literally be raining down on people’s heads, crops, and drinking water, there are significant safety concerns surround cloud seeding. Some fear that accumulated particles might linger, eventually proving carcinogenic to humans or harmful to the local environment.