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Incredible footage shows Dubai's artificial rain that's used to tackle high temperatures

Incredible footage shows Dubai's artificial rain that's used to tackle high temperatures

It's a climate that needs all the help it can get.

Whether you've been there for a holiday, stopped for a flight layover, or never stepped foot in Dubai, there's a good chance that you know about its climate.

The city and its surrounds are famously hot and dry, nestled in an effective desert with vanishingly small amounts of rain each year.

So, when footage recently emerged of what looks like torrential rain in Dubai, onlookers were perplexed - is this just the only rain it'll get all year, or is there more going on?

Well, that latter instinct is pretty spot-on, because while this rain is technically natural, and not man-made as such, it is brought on in a pretty clever way.

As it turns out, Dubai has been pursuing what's called "cloud seeding" in recent years, to increase the likelihood of natural clouds dropping their rain over it rather than simply moving on to leave it parched.

There's now a task force dedicated to the project, The National Center of Meteorology, and it flies over 1,000 hours of air missions each year as part of the push.

The task force has a network of weather stations that monitor the air and keep a lookout for clouds that would be suitable for seeding, at which point a plane is launched.

This plane has wings loaded up with hygroscopic flares, which effectively are able to shoot around a kilo of salty material each into the cloud as the plane flies through it.

This salt mixes in the cloud, causing its water vapour to increase its droplet size until gravity drags these drops downward and rainfall begins.

Dubai's artificial rain is a clever way to help combat high temperatures.
Anushka Eranga/NurPhoto via Getty Images

That's a pretty genius way to ensure that you get at least a little rain since anything is better than nothing, and the results can be seen in a video doing the rounds this week, showing Dubai's streets and skyscrapers enveloped in clouds and rain.

According to a report from CNBC earlier this year, Dubai isn't just going to stick with what it knows, either. It's recently developed a new seeding agent to replace the existing one, which it claims is far more efficient and three times as effective as the existing flares.

So, it's clearly part of the long-term plan for the city to keep using these systems and flying its missions to make sure that rain falls at least occasionally.

The only drawback, seemingly, is that it does rely on suitable clouds rolling into the area, since Dubai can't currently manufacture weather out of thin air, as nice as that would be.

So, if there are absolutely no clouds then there isn't a huge amount it can do.

Featured Image Credit: X/@historyinmemes