Artificial rain has arrived in the UAE

The new system for causing rain in areas where water is scarce uses unmanned drones, and is currently already being tested.

Not all places on Earth are equal or equally habitable. And not everyone can benefit from the same amount of water. That's why experts at the University of Bath have set themselves an innovative research goal: a new system to artificially cause rain in areas where it is scarce.

A system that is already being tested in the United Arab Emirates - notoriously plagued by drought and heat - and that, while research continues to find sources of H20 on the Moon and Mars, is giving encouraging results. In order to achieve early success, researchers at the British university have developed a sophisticated mechanism that relies on the use of unmanned drones. The drones carry an electrical charge that is then released into the cloud, providing the water droplets present with the shock they need to aggregate and fall as rain.

This is one of the first cases in the world in which drones are used in an attempt to stimulate the clouds to generate induced precipitation: the current techniques - much more expensive - involve the use of planes or rockets at low altitude that put in the clouds of solid particles, such as salt or silver iodide.

The research made in the UK was published in the authoritative scientific journal Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, and has already been extensively tested in the UK. Tests conducted by scientists in Her Majesty have shown that it is possible to release electrical charges from drones and analyze data "comfortably" from the ground. The next goal, by the researchers' own admission, will be to repeat the tests in the Arabian Peninsula, where the electrical environment is notoriously different from standard usage, due to high levels of fine dust and aerosol particles in the atmosphere.

The area was chosen because of the existence of unprecedented water stress, where the average rainfall does not exceed 100 millimeters per year - think in Britain it is about 855mm -, and because of a future scenario in which the country is set to become even drier due to global warming.

The hope in Bath is that the involvement of drones can stimulate the clouds in the skies of Arabia to produce rain in the coming years, going to optimize the performance of current techniques of "insemination" of the clouds.

Andrea Guerriero