The United Arab Emirates are famous for megalomaniac projects, Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeriah, and Atlantis being just a few of them. Amongst many other infrastructural plans, the UAE is planning on "building" a giant mountain in order to collect water, which the Earth desperately needs.
Scientists are working on this artificial mountain project which will create clouds, later on "sewing" the clouds together in order to produce rain on demand.
Plans are still in the making, so not many details are available to the public on matters such as how high the mountain will be and where it is going to be located, let alone how much it's going to cost.
Experts from the US Atmospheric Research Corporation are working on a computer model in order to determine the ideal dimensions for this man-made mountain. However, researcher Roelof Bruintjes warns the UAE that creating a mountain isn't very simple, regardless of the amount of money the Emirates are considering on investing.
As we all know, mountains have a significant impact on regional and global weather conditions, affecting the warm humid air, creating clouds and at the end of the day, producing rain. The goal here is for this natural process to be triggered with the help of a man-made structure.
Today, there are different ways to artificially influence clouds to produce as much rainfall as possible (so-called cloud seeding), but if the artificial mountain is high enough, it may naturally cause precipitation, so humid air would condense under the influence of lower temperatures, and small drops would fall to the ground in the form of rain.
In either case, water would be collected and used for the needs of people and plants.
In the United Arab Emirates, rain falls only a few days a year, while temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius, sometimes even more and that's the reason why there is only 13 centimeters of rain a year. In order to solve this problem, "cloud-seeding" is already being applied in the UAE.
The method of "cloud-seeding" consists of saturating the atmosphere with chemicals such as silver iodide which influences the formation of ice crystals. This works thanks to a process known as nucleation, which involves condensing a small amount of water in the air around the ice particles, which are in liquid form, but below the freezing point. When the ice drops begin to fall to the ground because they are too heavy to hold in the air, they dissolve, creating much needed rain.
The man-made mountain is definitely an ambitious project which, in my opinion, will help the country greatly. The UAE has to be aware of the risks and hopefully, find a safe way to create such a positive impact in their society.