London: Scientists claim to have
achieved a breakthrough by generating a series of downpours in
the deserts of the United Arab Emirates using a new technology
which is designed to control the weather.
A team, employed by the ruler of Abu Dhabi and
President of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has
created some 50 rainstorms last year in the emirate`s eastern
Al Ain region -- most of the storms were at the height of the
summer in July and August, the `Daily Mail` reported.
And, people living in Abu Dhabi were baffled by the
rainfall which sometimes turned into hail and included gales
The scientists have been using giant ionisers, shaped
like stripped down lampshades on steel poles, to generate
fields of negatively charged particles. These promote cloud
formation and researchers hoped they could then produce rain.
In a confidential company video, Helmut Fluhrer, the
founder of the Swiss company in charge of the project, Metro
Systems International, which was monitored by the Max Planck
Institute for Meteorology in Germany, boasted of success.
"We have achieved a number of rainfalls," Fluhrer was
quoted as telling `The Times`.
It is believed to be the first time the system has
produced rain from clear skies. In the past, China and other
countries have used chemicals for cloud-seeding to both induce
and prevent rain falling.
Last June Metro Systems built five ionising sites each
with 20 emitters that can send trillions of cloud-forming ions
into the atmosphere. Over four summer months the emitters were
switched on when the required atmospheric level of humidity
reached 30 per cent or more.
While the country`s weather experts predicted no
clouds or rain in Al Ain region, rain fell on 52 occasions.
Professor Hartmut Grassl of Max Planck Institute for
Meteorology said: "There are many applications. One is getting
water into a dry area. May be this is a most important point
However, some scientists are treating the results
in Al Ain with caution because Abu Dhabi is a coastal state
and can experience natural summer rainfall triggered by air
picking up moisture from warm ocean before dropping on land.
But the number of times it rained in the region
so soon after the ionisers were switched on has encouraged
Prof Peter Wilderer, Director of advanced studies
on sustainability at the Technical University of Munich, who
witnessed the experiments first hand and is backing the
He said: "We came a big step closer to the point
where we can increase the availability of fresh water to all
in times of dramatic global changes."