Manmade desert rain
It may sound like a scene from a Bond film, but in the region of Al Ain, Abu Dhabi there have been experimental projects to produce desert rain scientifically. A Swiss based company, Meteo Systems International, making the desert rain say on their website:
“the amount of water in the atmosphere is far greater than the amount of water in rivers, accessing this atmospheric water by increasing rainfall in a targeted way is a critical element in attempts to increase the usable supply of fresh water. About 97% of the world’s water is tied up in the oceans and seas. Only about 3% is fresh and about of that 70% is frozen of the remaining 30%, the majority is underground in aquifers leaving a small fraction in lakes, rivers and in the atmosphere. Much of the water in rivers is held in remote parts of the world (i.e. the amazon)”
The company have had over fifty occasions where rainfall has been a success. This is briefly how the project works, the conditions have to be specific where wind updrafts and cloud formations exist and where atmospheric levels of humidity are above a minimum level, they then charge the atmosphere using giant ionisers which look like huge aerial masts to emit electrically charged particles into the atmosphere, they in turn react with existing particles causing ice particles which eventually lead to condensation and then form rainfall.
Apparently some scientists are a little sceptical as the region where the experiments have been conducted are near the coastline where it has been known to have the odd summer rainfall due to the moisture from the sea, but results have been encouraging where rainfall has been prominent so soon after each experiment, and even the locals were surprised to see hail. The ionising system costs in the region of 7 million pounds but even with the high price tag, savings can be made against building a desalination plant. People who live in the arid environment could be looking at developing the area into sustaining crops.
The project was started in June 2010 in secret at the request of the president of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and is being monitored by the Max Planck Institute for Technology, involved in study of atmosphere physics. The designers of the system, Meteo Systems International are based in Zug, Switzerland whos main shareholder is an operator of clean energy projects worldwide and producer of sustainable resources from natural products and waste.
Where the company use negatively charged particles to induce rainfall, here in Manchester UK I’m developing a system with positively charged particles where rain clouds are prompted to resist any natural reaction and pass over as quickly as they can! Then again I regard myself quite fortunate, would you rather live in a varied climate or wake up to soaring heat every day?
(Resources: Daily Mail. Telegraph, Meteo Systems International)