UAE considers building faux mountain to increase rainfall

The United Arab Emirates is considering building a fake mountain to, it hopes, increase rainfall in the region. Later this summer, the US's National Center for Atmospheric Research will provide the UAE with a report on the first stage of its evaluation of the plan — NCAR is looking into what kind of weather effects a man-made mountain would have, the kind of slopes it would need, and how tall it would have to be.

The UAE is desperate for rain — the region usually only get a few days of rain every year and experiences very high summer temperatures. Dubai is a particularly high consumer of water, though, something that isn't very sustainable in the region and that creates water scarcity and security issues.

The region has managed to increase rainfall to certain degrees using seeded clouds, but the process could prove unsuitable for any sort of frequent use; the artificial clouds may have been the cause of recent record rainfall that caused floods and other issues.

An artificial mountain may have the same effect — increasing rainfall — without the potential chaos. It could work by forcing moist air to rise high, where it will eventually cool off and fall back in the form of rain. The windy side of the mountain, therefore, could become a future source of water for the region.

At this point, the UAE has spent about $400,000 simply researching the project; assuming researchers give it the go-ahead, the estimated cost could eclipse what the region is able to budget, leading to other potential technologies and sources water instead. Increased desalination efforts are one potential source of increased freshwater availability; ideas have also been tossed around that involve running pipelines from water-rich areas in the vicinity.

VIA: Washington Post