the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Let it Rain

Posted by Jeff Id on January 7, 2011

Anastassia Makarieva has been graciously keeping me up to date on the goings on with their recent publication.  She sent me an email today with a bit of a surprise.

Dear Colleagues

Recently news sneaked in here and there that a “secret” project in Abu Dhabi has successfully created artificial rainstorms.

The reported project leader, Helmut Fluhrer, has an interesting web page describing one of their devices. It relies on the condensational
instability of moist air as reported in HESS paper by Makarieva and Gorshkov (2007). Of particular interest is the recognition, see para [0017], that the condensational instability produces updrafts even under atmospheric conditions traditionally regarded as stable. (I remind that according to the condensation-induced dynamics, moist saturated atmosphere is inherently unstable and cannot be static in principle.)

Knowing nothing of this project but just emphasizing (quite unadvertised) interest in our findings from experimentalists, it is interesting to guess.

When using the condensational theory of atmospheric dynamics the UAE become moist and green and recover their forests, will by that time the second referee for our paper in ACPD have been found — or not yet?

Best wishes


14 Responses to “Let it Rain”

  1. steveta_uk said

    Ahhh! Global Wetting!

  2. ScottH said

    Awesome and terrifying all at the same time.

  3. kim said

    Just as when you suck energy out of the wind, so when you suck humidity out, you harm those downwind who get weaker wind, or drier air. The cure is more expensive than the value of the energy or the water, necessarily so, by efficiency losses.

  4. #3 Kim,

    In a desert, there is normally no wind from the sea, so there is nobody to be robbed of moisture downwind. If one stands on a desert-ocean borderline and induces condensation on land and thus lowers local pressure, winds starts blowing and bring moisture from the ocean. This is the general idea.

    I agree that what they are doing in the UAE (ionizing the atmosphere to induce condensation) is abnormally expensive. Natural forests apparently do the same for free, by both producing condensation nuclei and sustaining a local store of moisture. They also sustain themselves (unlike the ionizing devices).

    The company may appreciate the opportunity to make large-scale experiments which would not probably be allowed elsewhere for the obvious safety reasons.

    Note, btw, that the coastline windmills harm those downwind not just because the downwinders receive a weaker wind, but also because they receive less moisture due to weakening of the wind from the ocean. The coastline windmills work as desertifiers.

    Thanks, Jeff, for your continued interest in our stuff.

  5. kim said

    Oh, yes, Ana, there are localities where more good will be done than harm. I’m speaking generally and theoretically.

  6. Atomic Hairdryer said

    Interesting bit of geoengineering and thanks for the links to the developers. Initial costs seem high, but if it’ll help soil enrichment and then planting it may become naturally self-sustaining. One to watch long term I guess.

  7. lucia said

    Pretty neat!

  8. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Soon trees will grow in the desert, African wildlife will finally return (last seen shortly after the last ice age), and lawns will be a lush green all through Abu Dhabi..

    OK, maybe not.
    Strange, just very strange.

  9. Brian H said

    Already happening:

  10. Brian H said

    That’s the Sahel, why not Abu Dhabi?

    doncha know that atmospheric humidity is in equilibrium? Tie some up in the sands and new veg, and the ocean will just replace it tout suite.

  11. Sera said

    Doing it for years, I don’t know what to beleive anymore…

  12. Sera said

    There is a journal on weather modification. Who knew?

  13. […] Let it Rain […]

  14. […] Let it Rain […]

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