Exclusive: UAE mulls ‘man-made mountain’ in bid to improve rainfall

$400,000 grant made to experts at University of Atmospheric Research to conduct research into ideal size and location of mountain

The UAE is currently in the first stage of a man-made mountain development project as the country mulls different approaches to maximising rainfall.

Experts from the US-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are in the “detailed modelling study” phase, NCAR scientist and lead researcher Roelof Bruintjes told Arabian Business.

“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,” said Bruintjes. “We will have a report of the first phase this summer as an initial step.”

In collaboration with the National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS), the UCAR received a fund of $400,000 in February last year to propose a “detailed modelling study evaluating the effects of building a mountain on the weather”.

The presence of mountains forces air to rise, creating clouds that can then be seeded, Bruintjes said.

Cloud seeding, a weather modification process designed to increase the amount of rainfall produced from clouds, has a permanent unit at the NCMS’s meteorological department, which conducts operations across the UAE.

The department recently revealed $558,000 was spent on UAE cloud-seeding last year.

“Building a mountain is not a simple thing,” added Bruintjes. “We are still busy finalising assimilation, so we are doing a spread of all kinds of heights, widths and locations [as we simultaneously] look at the local climatology.”

The specific location has not yet been determined as the NCAR experts are still testing out different sites across the UAE.

“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,” Bruintjes said. “If it goes through, the second phase would be to go to an engineering company and decide whether it is possible or not.”

Mountains play an important role in influencing global and regional climates and weather conditions. By intercepting the global circulation of air, they have a decisive effect on wind, precipitation and temperature patterns, according to a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2011 report.

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Posted by: Fentoni

Knowing Dubai if this crazy plan ever happened this is how it will work..... 1. They'll build the mountain to create more rain. 2. It will rain on the mountain. 3 Someone will have a bright idea to freeze the rain for skiing. 4. The rain isn't enough so they'll pump more water up the mountain to create more snow using snow cannons . 4. In five years you will have an artificial alpine resort using more water in a week than the mountain generates in a decade.

Posted by: WHJ

@Telco. Was that even English: "more of a mocking"??
Why would I ask for a wall to keep people out?
I fear your comments are becoming more bizarre and incomprehensible. Your usual bitter posts are taking a turn for the worse. You seem angry.

Posted by: Telcoguy

@WHJ, I think your claims are more of a mocking than anything else Fenton could say. I am still wondering if you are real or some kind of Cobelrtesque character because you have made claims so outrageous and out of place that would fit perfectly in his old program.

I am waiting for you to ask for a wall to keep people out. It can not take long.
@Fentoni, please treat WHJ with some love, he is the last one.

Posted by: WHJ

@Fentoni. Talking about water consumption is one thing, mocking a city is another.

Posted by: Fentoni

Dubai and the UAE has lots to be rightly proud of but energy and water waste is a known problem. The UAE and GCC region in general (according to the Economist Intelligence Unit report: GCC in 2020) uses the most energy per person when compared to China, Germany the US and Japan. The report concludes.. "At present, there are considerable inefficiencies all along the production, distribution and consumption chain, starting with energy-inefficient production and ending with water-inefficient consumption." Great Skylines, ports and airlines don't change inefficient energy and water consumption. It's possible to like Dubai and be balanced.

Posted by: WHJ

@ Fentoni. Well I guess you don't know Dubai very well. I think you're confusing it with your place of origin.
The Dubai we know has built one of the best airlines in the world, one of the largest port operators in the world and one of the most iconic skylines in the world...the list goes on of course.
@ Arabian Business. Do surprise me and post this comment!!

Posted by: anne B

Actually the Emirates who have mountains (such as Fujairah) are very busy in destroying their mountains in order to produce cement which is sold to Dubai to build towers. Will they continue destroying their mountains in order to build moutains in Dubai?

Posted by: Attaullah Khan

I suggest to generate atmospheric gravity waves, that will solve the problems. these waves depend on the mountain shape and height and the wind flow. These waves are very useful for the increasing the precipitation rate.

Posted by: Maxim

There are other methods to make more rainfall. Artificial rain by utilising sunlight, for example. See "Geshem Project" where the idea is described. Such method should be many cheaper than man-made mountains.

Posted by: Subhan Satopay

UAE already have mountains in Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, one in Al Ain....Dubai has none.

Garbage dumps can play some role...instead of digging and dumping, garbage dumps can systematically developed to grow upward..and then cover with stones and fertile soils layers...it may take decades but its feasible.

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