There’s actually some potentially sensible thinking behind the latest mad-sounding United Arab Emirates construction plan. It’s researching the idea of building an artificial mountain, in order to help increase cloud cover and thus trigger more rainfall. The desert country’s a pretty dry place. Goodness knows how a fake mountain would be built or indeed how much it would cost, but the gold-plated people in charge almost certainly wouldn’t give a toss. It’s also reasonable to imagine that such a construction could have additional long-term environmental impacts.
“What we are looking at is basically evaluating the effects on weather through the type of mountain, how high it should be and how the slopes should be,” said Roelof Bruintjes, a weather modification scientist at the NCAR. “Building a mountain is not a simple thing.”
The UAE has also been experimenting with cloud seeding, which involves pumping substances such as dry ice, silver iodide or potassium iodide into clouds to increase rainfall.