As the effects of global warming continue to create challenging conditions around the globe, the impetus to hack the planet grows ever stronger. Now, the United Arab Emirates is seeking to address its drought conditions with anartificial mountain expected to create clouds and bring on more rainfall. The government is considering proposals, and one idea from the United States’ National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is getting some traction. Researchers there have scored a $400,000 grant to determine whether a manmade mountain would solve the problem.
Clouds naturally form around mountains, and once they have amassed enough moisture, it rains in the valley. That’s the effect UAE leaders are hoping to achieve. Despite the Hajar mountains in the eastern part of the country, NCAR is conducting a feasibility study to determine whether one can be built to produce the same results. The size, location, and shape of the proposed artificial mountain are all up for debate, depending on the study results.
“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,” NCAR lead researcher Roelof Bruintjes told Dubai news site Arabian Business. The team expects to have an initial report this summer and, if NCAR can develop a proposal that fits in the UAE’s budget, the manmade mountain could become a real thing. Reportedly, the government spent $558,000 on cloud seeding last year, and it may have worked. The country received record rainfall last month, complete with thunderstorms. An artificial mountain could potentially do the same job.
Anywhere else in the world, the notion of building a mountain would seem completely insane. But the UAE is already home to some spectacular achievements of human construction, including the super tall Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.