MILAN - The great problem of the Arab Emirates has always been water. This country receives less than 100 millimetres of rain a year, and great part of this vanishes through evaporation, due to the extreme heat. The Government, to try to reverse the situation, has decided to invest several million dollars in research, to try to literally "rob" clouds of humidity.
The attempt by Sufian Khaled Farrah
A few months ago, meteorologist Sufian Khaled Farrah ordered six twin-engine air planes to take off from Al Ain airport to make them fly inside clouds that had formed in the meantime. Their task was to shoot 162 rockets full of minuscule particles of potassium chloride and sodium chloride. This action led to a very light rain in most of the Country. After the signals of hope given by Farrah's experiment, the United Arab Emirates would like to ensure a higher level of water supply in the Country following this avenue.
International Prize launched
In the last month, the International Research Prize for climate modification, brought to the allocation of an initial amount of 5 million dollars to researchers coming from Germany and Japan, amongst other places. "There are many techniques to preserve water resources", said Masataka Murakami, of Nagoya Institute, "but only rainfall can produce the amount of water that is necessary for everybody". This nation, even though it has a great natural limit, is one of the Countries with the highest rate of per capita water consumption.
During the next three years, a team of experts will implement a number of sensors and algorithms, to identify the most promising clouds. A German team, guided by professor Volker Wulfmeyer of the University of Hohenheim, will study how winds and topography influence the formation of clouds and their movement. Linda Zoe, on the other hand, will guide a team of researchers from the Masdar Insitute in the United Arab Emirates, using nanotechnology, to increase water condensation inside clouds.
by Alessandro Michielli