Dubai: Torrential rains generated by humans? The answer

18 April 2024 / Thibaud Vézirian

These images went around the world. Rainfall equivalent in 24 hours to several months of precipitation. An airport invaded by water, so much so that the planes looked like boats…

As is often the case via social networks, some conspiratorial – or at least far-fetched – hypotheses arise. This time, it would be Man who modified the climate in order to create these violent storms.

In total, more than 120 millimeters of water fell on the United Arab Emirates. The desert, feet in the water. A rarity. And suspicion!

Theories are quickly emerging: With more than 13 million views, a message in English, relayed by Bloomberg, explains that a “ weather change » would be the work of Man, evoking a “ cloud seeding ”, and “ chemicals sprayed into clouds to create rain ».

Yes, the United Arab Emirates uses “ cloud seeding », a process which has nothing to do with a phenomenon of such magnitude. Capricious weather, otherwise perfectly managed by the Emirati authorities.

Cloud seeding is a little-known technique in France, since it is quite expensive and useless in the country. This involves adding different substances to clouds in order to prevent the formation of hail or to encourage precipitation.

The UAE carries out more than 300 seeding missions annually, using multiple aircraft, according to data collected by the country. The country has even invested tens of millions of dollars in research into these techniques over the past twenty years.

Could cloud seeding have gone wrong? To the point of triggering such a storm? The denial is formal from the deputy director of the Emirates National Meteorology Center (NCM). On CNBC, he insists that “ no operations were conducted before or during the storm to influence rain amounts ». 

Stating: “ One of the basic principles of cloud seeding is that you need to target clouds at an early stage, before it rains. If you have a severe storm, then it is too late to do a seeding operation. The NCM does not conduct cloud seeding operations during extreme weather events. »