The drought: this world problem. In many countries, the lack of rain in certain areas makes life difficult. But technology helped us with that. The drones that produce the rain are a new way of combating drought. They are being tested in the abandoned United Arab Emirates.
Electricity … and rain
Drones carry an electrical charge that is released into a cloud. They give cloud droplets the jolt they need to collect and fall like rain. Usually the established techniques for stimulating precipitation in arid countries are different. Like low-flying planes or rockets, they throw or shoot solid particles (such as salt or silver iodide) into the clouds. This is known as cloud seeding.
The drones carry a payload of instruments and sensors that emit electrical charges. Human operators on the ground direct them into the deep clouds. There they will release their cargo. Clouds, of course, carry positive and negative charges. By disrupting the balance of these charges, it is hoped that cloud droplets can be made to grow and merge. And then the rain.
The research was published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. It is operated by the University of Reading. The drones were developed by researchers from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in Bath. Dr. Keri Nicoll coordinated the research. He said It’s a statement: «We did tests in the UK. We show that we can detach cargo from drones and detect them on the ground. The next step is to repeat these tests in the United Arab Emirates.
Water stress is a major problem in much of the Arab world. The average rainfall in the Emirates is 100 mm per year. For comparison: in Great Britain it is 885 mm.
“Climate change creates more uncertainty about rainfall,” said Nicoll. “There are 50 countries that have programs in place to improve rainfall. They are already doing cloud seeding in the United Arab Emirates. But they are looking for new solutions. The drones that produce the rain are part of it.
Nicoll has high hopes for this technology. “It will not replace established cloud seeding techniques. But it can maximize the efficiency of cloud seeding, ”he said.