As a major drought continues in Africa and the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates are working on a very novel idea to fight back. The country is beginning a project to create a “man made mountain” and seed the resulting clouds in order to produce rainfall. Cloud seeding is not new for the gulf nation, which spent more than a half million dollars last year alone on the act. So far, the ideal construction site, specifics, and cost have not been determined for the man made mountain. Although the idea seems surreal, it is not the first such mountain to be discussed and it would not be surprising to see it come to fruition in the UAE, which is known to many for its man made archipelagos in the Persian Gulf off of Dubai, particularly the Palm Islands and World Islands.
Cloud seeding has yielded results in the United Arab Emirates, and can be assumed to be responsible for the flooding that has occurred there this year. Nonetheless, rain is quite uncommon in the country. These engineering endeavors have obvious effects on climate, but the construction of a mountain may have other unforeseen effects on the environment and ecology there.
The project is in its earliest stages, and was only announced in late April. If the plan moves forward, it will likely cost billions of dollars and not be completed for years. In fact, in a statement to Arabian Business, Roelof Bruintjes noted that “if it goes through, the second phase would be to go to an engineering company and decide whether it is possible or not”. A similar project that was theorized in the Netherlands was found to be feasible, however.
Roelof Bruintjes is a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the United States based team tasked with modeling the mountain and conducting the initials stages of development. The construction of a climateoriented mountain will revolutionize geoengineering, so updates to this story will follow as the project continues.