When I first heard that rain in UAE is not natural but created by the government, the Nigerian in me screamed ‘JUJU ohhhh” and I wanted to jump on the next flight back to Nigeria but my love for Dubai held me back and I decided to learn more about this Juju.
A few days ago in Dubai, it was flooded streets, traffic jams for more than two hours caused by impossible weather conditions, a thunderstorm, tales of flooding at a famous mall. It felt like I was back in Lagos, only that it was Dubai, my absolute favourite city.
When I read in the news once again that the rain wasn’t natural, I finally decided to pay some attention to it.
“We can confirm that The Dubai Mall was affected by the heavy rainfall, causing leakages in limited areas.
“We are working to contain all leakages and the mall remains operational and open to the public. Mall staff are on the ground, ensuring the visitor experience remains unaffected. Please be assured that the safety of mall visitors, staff and tenants remains our utmost priority.”According to an official from the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) who spoke to Gulf News, the ongoing cloud seeding process that took place would continue for a few days around the UAE as they continue to enhance the amount of rain in the country.
The UAE has a whole arm called the “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’ focused on initiatives to increase rain in the country and they have been successful using cloud seeding.
Cloud Seeding? Hian? Dem don come with name for their Juju ohhh
Reading about it, the first time cloud seeding was done in the world was in 1946 by Dr. Vincent J. Schaefer, while working at the General Electric Laboratory but the first time the UAE did it was in July 2010 and it cost them US$11 million. Something a rainmaker in Awka, Anambra or a Sharman in Kenya would have done for like N50,000 or 500 AED.
How is Cloud Seeding Done? Any similarities to traditional rainmaking
Researchers say the shamans or juju men would climb up the hill through the fissures in the rock, and then light fires to offer animal remains to the gods as part of their ceremonies. These shamans believed they could connect with an unseen force of nature that produces clouds, rain, thunder and lightning, winds and other weather phenomena.
Reading about traditional rain making, some of them were really scientific and involved tracking weather patterns, reading cloud movements and connections in ways that were more advanced than anything else.
In today’s scientific method of cloud seeding, Seeding involves some cloud reading like in traditional rain making and shooting a salt flare into the cloud. When the rainmakers/researchers find a suitable cloud on the radar, planes are sent up to ‘seed’ the cloud.
Salt naturally attracts water, the water particles then collide with others, get bigger and hopefully fall as rain. How much rainfall is generated by this process is hard to quantify
President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE empowered top scientific minds to work for years to birth a solution that would allow them artificially create rain and it lead to what is now known as ‘The biggest Ionic Breeze on Earth’ launched in the UAE in 2010.
Since introduction, the UAE has continued to refine the process with modern juju men/scientists like Professor Linda Zou, a Professor at Khalifa University testing core and shell composite nanomaterial for its effectiveness in rain making. The new technology injects salt crystals with a titanium dioxide nanoparticle coating into existing, convective clouds with the hope of making rain particles denser, and more likely to fall.