Scientists Create 52 Artificial Rain Storms in Abu Dhabi Desert

Fifty-two storms in Abu Dhabi this summer were artifically created.

Fifty-two storms in Abu Dhabi this summer were artifically created.

Via Getty Images

Hail, lightning and gales came through the state’s eastern region this summer thanks to scientist-puppetmasters.

As part of a secret program to control the weather in the Middle East, scientists working for the United Arab Emirates government artificially created rain where rain is generally nowhere to be found. The $11 million project, which began in July, put steel lampshade-looking ionizers in the desert to produce charged particles. The negatively charged ions rose with the hot air, attracting dust. Moisture then condensed around the dust and eventually produced a rain cloud. A bunch of rain clouds.

(See TIME’s pictures of the year 2010)

On the 52 days it rained in the region throughout July and August, forecasters did not predict rain once.

While fascinating, this is not the first time scientists have attempted to mess with Mother Nature. China has been tinkering with cloud seeding for years, not always successfully.

But the idea that countries in the Middle East could actually create rain in this water-poor region could go a long way to solving the area’s problems with drought and is considered to be cheaper than desalination. But how controllable the weather can be is still in doubt, and the consequences of meddling with nature at this level are yet to be seen.

(See the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2010)

They started this project to see if they could build cities further out. I wonder what this would mean for LA????

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