Cloud seeding is a technique in which clouds are injected with chemicals or zapped with electricity to simulate rain.
As reports continue to pour in about the devastation caused by the monsoon in some parts of India, Dubai has conjured up some rain for itself. After battling temperatures of more than 50 degrees Celsius, this city in the United Arab Emirates found some relief by using a new method of cloud seeding in which they charged clouds with electricity. Cloud seeding has been used to mitigate drought in India on multiple occasions for quite some time.
Explaining the process, Kondala Murali Mohan, a scientist with Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Medak), said: “Cloud seeding is a process to create artificial rain. Here, chemicals like silver iodide, potassium iodide and dry ice are sent to the atmosphere through helicopters or planes.
These particles attract the water vapour in the air, leading to the formation of cumulonimbus clouds and finally rain. It generally takes half-an-hour to produce rainfall by this method. The time taken to generate rain depends on which portion of the cloud the chemicals are being injected into. Zapping the top layers gives the fastest results.”
However, these experiments are harmful to the environment. The scientist added: “The method can lead to acidification of the oceans, ozone layer depletion and an increase in the levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Silver is a heavy, toxic metal and it harms the health of plants, humans and animals. Cloud seeding is also a costly method. A foot of rainfall costs around USD 200.”