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Dubai Flooding ’24: Cloud Seeding or Deadly Climate Change?

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Dubai Flooding… an event that shook the entire UAE! Just imagine, you are an ordinary civilian. It’s evening and you just got off work. You look around at the majestic sights. The tall skyscrapers of the desert turned into goldmines. Suddenly, a downpour starts. It is not just a normal sprinkle, but a torrential hail that brings Dubai on its knees. 

In this situation, the class difference is not even a thought in the back of the mind. Expensive cars turn into buoys, posh suburbs turn into canals, and the metropolitan’s glamourous facade grinds under the unrelenting attack of the water.

No, this is not a scene from Christopher Nolan’s next dystopian movie. It is the existence of Dubai and its people right now. So, buckle up, as we are about to take you on a ride of truths on what exactly is the reality of Dubai Flooding. 

April 16, 2024

Heavy rains and torrential hails blasted Dubai late on Monday night and continued into Tuesday, April 16, 2024. It submerged the major highways and international airports.

The rainfall spurred the UAE’s government to raise warnings for employees to work from home and only leave their houses in cases of extreme necessity. All federal workers are asked to work from home until at least Wednesday. 

The rain has also resulted in the hiatus of operations at Dubai Airport in the afternoon for 25 mins. It is reported that Dubai experienced a year and a half’s worth of rain in a day.

Dubai’s Geography

Regarding recent events, the UAE’s geography is on the other end of the spectrum. It is one of the hottest and driest regions on Earth. Taking that into account, it was one of the most extreme events since record-taking began in 1949. UAE has once before seen heavy rain and flooding, in 2016, to be precise.

Drainage systems in the UAE’s coastal regions were overwhelmed by the runoff, leading to flooding. There have also been images and videos of Airplanes taxiing through standing water in Dubai International Airport shared online by the Netizens.

UAE is one of the pioneers in using Cloud Seeding technology to increase rainfall, which until recently remained at less than 100 millimeters annually on average in the Persian Gulf region. 

What is Cloud Seeding?

We must first understand clouds themselves to talk about Cloud Seeding. Clouds are made from tiny droplets of water or ice crystals that develop when water vapor in the atmosphere cools. When these droplets or crystals combine with dust, salt, or smoke particles, they become heavy and fall as either rain or snow. 

Cloud Seeding is a method used to try and make clouds produce more rain and snow. the method has been around for a long time and is most often used in places where rainfall is unlikely. People either use specially made machines on the ground or airplanes up in the sky to do it. 

Before cloud seeding, scientists monitor them carefully to make sure that they pick the appropriate ones and time the rainfall correctly.

Is Cloud Seeding the cause of the recent Dubai Flooding?

The UAE has been running the Cloud Seeding Program since 2002 to try and get more rainfall to happen in their dry regions. They regularly send planes for Cloud Seeding.

Due to the recent Dubai Flooding, some people thought that Cloud Seeding might have caused the big rainfall. A meteorologist from UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology has addressed these concerns and said that they take safety seriously. They don’t seed the clouds during extreme weather. 

Even if they had done Cloud Seeding during the rainfall, it probably wouldn’t have made much difference in how much rain fell. And also, it would only affect certain areas. The terrible weather covered many countries, and Cloud Seeding usually doesn’t have that big of an impact. A scientist from the University of Reading said that we don’t have the technology to make or change such a big rainfall event. 

So did the Dubai Flooding occur due to Climate change?

Several experts point to climate change instead of Cloud Seeding for the Dubai Flooding. They conclude that a combination of low pressure in the upper atmosphere and low pressure at the surface squeezed the air. It created conditions for powerful rainfall. This squeeze was then made stronger by the temperature difference between the cold air and the warm surface. Climate change likely made the storm worse.

Scientists have also explained that as the Earth is getting warmer due to Climate change led by humans, extreme weather like the Dubai Flooding has become more common across the world. Thunderstorms tend to create more rain in warm atmospheres because the strong upward movement of air in the storm gets strong in a warm world. 

How much Damage is the UAE facing?

It is still unclear how much damage the UAE faced due to the recent Dubai Flooding. The information we have has given us a glimpse of the problem caused, but unfortunately, we don’t have the exact numbers. Roads were flooded, and even the airport had to be closed. Many businesses were affected because employees were not available. Houses and neighborhoods were affected too, making it possible that even the infrastructure of buildings could be damaged.

As of now, 19 people have been declared dead in neighboring Oman, including children. It has been a trying week for many. Our prayers are with them. Although Dubai stopped because of the flooding, we still need more information to get to a consensus on how bad it exactly was.

Conclusion

In simple terms, the recent Dubai Flooding was not caused by Cloud Seeding, but instead by Climate Change. While used extensively in UAE, the technology is not advanced enough to be the cause of such a large event. Scientists and other experts are leaning more toward Climate Change being a factor in making the storm worse. 

What are your thoughts on the recent Dubai Flooding? Do you agree or disagree with the experts? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for more updates and information regarding the recent events. Till then, مع السلامة!  

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