The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is using drones in tests seeking to jolt rainfall from obstinate cloud cover. The objective: to electrically shock water from rain-retaining skies.

Jolt-packing drones

The UAE is working with researchers from the UK’s University of Reading in the project deploying drones to force rain from shower-averse clouds. The plan involves launching unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) into the cover, where the craft emit electrical charges to provoke water into falling. Experiments have indicated those blasts are all that’s needed for insufficiently dense droplets to surge together into heavier groups that then plummet earthward. 

The drone-driven technique, designed and manufactured by researchers at the appropriately named University of Bath, is part of the UAE’s long-running rain enhancement program. The tiny Gulf nation gets an average of 3.9 inches of rain per year, and securing sufficient water supplies is a constant struggle.