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Cloud seeding or not, let's not make heavy weather of the rains

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's Desk)
Filed on January 14, 2020 | Last updated on January 14, 2020 at 06.14 am

(M. Sajjad/KT)

Can we attribute the record-breaking rainfall (the highest recorded in 24 years) to cloud seeding? Not exactly.

Q: Why is England the wettest country? 
A: Because the queen has reigned there for years!

I know, I know - it's old and not that funny. But if you've noticed, the past three days have seen UAE residents discussing the weather on social media and elsewhere like we were in England! It's raining, is it raining, oh it rained, it's going to rain... yes, it's the 'rainy' season and it's going to intermittently rain - so let's get over it. Nope, not that easy. Forget the newer lot, even residents who have been around for a while are getting caught in this contagious rain fever.

Of course, not many will remember the devastation caused by Cyclone Gonu in June 2007 considering we have short memories and are a transient society, but we had cyclones Maha and Kyarr visit our shores just a couple of months ago - we are a coastal nation and it is a weather pattern. Why are we suddenly ignoring the fact that the UAE is located in the Arabian Gulf and the country's coastline - at 1,318 kilometres - is much longer than its land borders (867km). As if the clogged drains, flooded roads, delayed flights, and shut schools weren't enough to play spoilsport and ruin the fun that rains brought with them, there's this whole debate going on about whether or not the recent torrential downpour is a result of cloud seeding.

The answer, simply, is: It's complicated.

As the very suave and accomplished Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE's Minister of Climate Change and Environment, told KT yesterday, "this is a climate change phenomenon" which, as he succinctly put it, is affecting the whole world. "What we are seeing with rain is affecting the whole region," he noted. Is the UAE undertaking cloud-seeding missions? Yes, it is. But can we attribute the record-breaking rainfall (the highest recorded in 24 years) to cloud seeding? Not exactly. As Al Zeyoudi said, "We are really proud of what we have achieved in the last five years. But it's a natural thing." So yes, cloud seeding has helped but the weather pattern is natural. Either way, let's not make heavy weather of the rains and enjoy them while they last.


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