How hot is it in Dubai? Officials are paying scientists to make it rain

Triple-digit temperatures are not new in the desert nations of the Middle East, but government officials in Dubai are intent on making it rain.

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Weather officials in the United Arab Emirates released a video of cars driving through a rainstorm in Ras al Khaimah, The Washington Post reported.

The video shows the efforts being made to increase rainfall in the desert nation, which on average has only 4 inches of rain each year.

According to the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology, the rain was caused by cloud seeding operations, MSN reported. Scientists created precipitation by launching drones that hit clouds with chemicals such as silver iodide, the website reported.

Some drones also hit clouds with streams of electricity, which cause droplets to clump together, according to the Post. The larger raindrops that result then fall to the ground, the newspaper reported.

“What we are trying to do is to make the droplets inside the clouds big enough so that when they fall out of the cloud, they survive down to the surface,” meteorologist Keri Nicoll told CNN in May as her team prepared to test drones near Dubai.

Nicoll is part of a team of scientists with the University of Reading in England, the Post reported. The scientists received a grant of $1.5 million over three years from the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, the newspaper reported.

Water continues to be scarce in the UAE, while temperatures and the country’s population continue to climb. The country uses about 4 billion cubic meters of water annually, the Post reported. The country’s population, meanwhile, doubled to 8.3 million between 2005 and 2010; there are now 9.9 million people in the country, according to the newspaper.

It usually rains only a few days out of the year in the country, and temperatures during the summer months can soar to more than 120 degrees.

“The water table is sinking drastically in (the) UAE,” University of Reading professor and meteorologist Maarten Ambaum told BBC News. “And the purpose of this (project) is to try to help with rainfall.”

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