The UAE is planning to build a huge artificial mountain to encourage more rainfall in the country deeply affected by lack of rain.
In the Middle Eastern country where high temperatures have continue to increase steeply since the last several decades, rivers are dry, causing crops to wilt and food prices to soar.
However, experts from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research located in America have started to study the effects an artificial mountain could have on the weather, particularly rainfall.
The Scientists say mountains can cause air to rise, creating clouds that can be modified – or seeded – to influence the amount of rainfall they spread. The £275,000 study, lead by National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Roelof Bruintjes, is only reported to be in the “detailed modelling study” phase of the project.
The artificial mountain will help increase cloud cover which could, in theory, lead to more rainfall. Introducing a man-made mountain would be a much more permanent step even though it is way costlier than cloud seeding, in which dry ice, silver iodide, or potassium iodide are pumped into clouds to bring about rainfall.
The UAE said they have spent about $400,000 NCAR spearheading the research.
The previous estimates for the cost of an artificial mountain in other countries have placed the price tag in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The researchers said they have no details yet about what the mountain would be built of, the construction method to use, and the environmental toll of actually building it.
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Speaking of environment risk, of the anticipated project, the Chinese program to literally move mountains to build cities, and the environmental disasters it has caused come to mind in the project’s viability studies.
“What we are looking at is basically evaluating the effects on weather through the type of mountain, how high it should be and how the slopes should be.
“We will have a report of the first phase this summer as an initial step.”
Calculations shows the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology & Seismology expended over £383,000 on weather modification last year.
Although Bruintjes recognizes that building a mountain from scratch could be more expensive, he insists that the research could solve the UAE’s rainfall crisis greatly.
“Building a mountain is not a simple thing.
“If [the project] is too expensive for [the government], logically the project won’t go through, but this gives them an idea of what kind of alternatives there are for the long-term future.
“If it goes through, the second phase would be to go to an engineering company and decide whether it is possible or not.”
The UAE is one of the hottest and driest countries on the planet, with thermometers peaking as high as 50 degrees in the summer.