Everything to know about cloud seeding, the act blamed for Dubai downpour

Unprecedented rainfall has swept across the United Arab Emirates, flooding roads, homes, and even Dubai International Airport’s runway with cloud seeding blamed as the cause.

In just 12 hours, the desert city received a year’s worth of rain, with more than 5.59 inches (142mm) drenching the landscape by the end of Tuesday. This deluge far exceeds the average yearly rainfall of 3.73 inches (86mm).

Described by the state-run WAM news agency as a “historic weather event,” this rainfall has surpassed any recorded since data collection began in 1949.

Experts are speculating that this extraordinary downpour might be linked, at least partially, to “cloud seeding.” But what exactly is cloud seeding?

Cloud Seeding

Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique aimed at enhancing precipitation from clouds. It involves dispersing substances, often silver iodide, potassium iodide, or liquid propane, into the atmosphere to stimulate cloud condensation or ice crystal formation, which can lead to increased rainfall or snowfall.

Here is, however, everything you need to know about cloud seeding


It is primarily used to augment precipitation in areas experiencing water scarcity or drought conditions. It’s also utilized to mitigate the impact of hailstorms and reduce the risk of wildfires by inducing rainfall.

How It Works

It involves the introduction of certain substances, typically silver iodide, potassium iodide, or sodium chloride, into clouds to stimulate the formation of ice crystals or raindrops. These substances serve as nuclei around which water droplets condense, leading to increased precipitation.


It can be carried out using various methods, including aircraft, ground-based generators, or rockets. Aircraft release seeding agents directly into clouds, while ground-based generators disperse them upward using rockets or cannons.


The effectiveness of cloud seeding is still a subject of debate among scientists. While some studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that it can enhance precipitation under certain conditions, the overall impact and long-term effectiveness remain uncertain.

Environmental Impact

It is generally considered safe for the environment and human health when conducted according to established protocols. However, concerns have been raised about the potential for unintended consequences, such as changes in weather patterns or ecological disruptions.


Its activities are regulated by national and international authorities to ensure safety and adherence to guidelines. Organizations responsible for weather modification programs typically monitor and evaluate the outcomes of cloud seeding operations.


It is used in various regions around the world, including arid and semi-arid areas, mountainous regions, and agricultural areas. It has also been employed to reduce the size of hailstones in severe thunderstorms.

Research and Development

Ongoing research aims to improve our understanding of cloud physics and the effectiveness of cloud seeding techniques. Advances in technology and modeling techniques continue to refine and optimize cloud seeding operations.

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