The UAE is currently in the first stage of a man-made mountain development project as the country mulls different approaches to maximizing rainfall.
Experts from the US-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are in the “detailed modeling study” phase, NCAR scientist and lead researcher Roelof Bruintjes told Arabian Business.
The presence of mountains forces air to rise, creating clouds that can then be seeded, Bruintjes said.
Cloud seeding, a weather modification process designed to increase the amount of rainfall produced from clouds, has a permanent unit at the NCMS’s meteorological department, which conducts operations across the UAE.
The department recently revealed $558,000 was spent on UAE cloud-seeding last year.
“Building a mountain is not a simple thing,” added Bruintjes. “We are still busy finalizing assimilation, so we are doing a spread of all kinds of heights, widths and locations [as we simultaneously] look at the local climatology.”
One proposal to build a 1.2-mile-high mountain in the notoriously flat Netherlands was found to be feasible if the mountain were hollow. Estimates for the cost went as high as $230 billion.
Arxiv – Cheap Artificial AB-Mountains, Extraction of Water and Energy from Atmosphere and Change of Regional Climate by Alexander Bolonkin
Bolonkin’s idea is creating a cheap range of inflatable ‘mountains’ (really immense gasbags) from a thin film whose presence forces humid air (a wet wind) to rise to high altitude. It is well known that air expands and cools at altitude. The air humidity decreases, exceeds the maximal saturation level and superfluous water vapor condenses in various forms, including rain or rain clouds.
The top of the gasbags’ film is located at an altitude of ~3 – 5 km. It is supported at this altitude by a small additional air pressure produced by ground ventilators. The film is connected to Earth’s ground by controlled cables, which allow some change in the height and orientation of the artificial mountain(s). The gasbag’s external surface may require double-layer film. We can control the heat conductivity of the dome cover by pumping an air between two layers of the dome cover and change the solar heating (solar radiation) by control of cover clarity or pumping a warm air between layers if icing-over or show is at the dome top. That allows selecting for different conditions (solar heating) in the covered area and by pumping air into the dome.
The building of a film dome is very easy. The collapsed film is spread out over Earth’s surface, turn on the pumping propellers and the film is raised by air overpressure to the needed altitude limited by the support cables. Damage to the film is not a major trouble because the additional air pressure is very small (0.005 – 0.05 atm) and air leakage is compensated for by the air impellers.
Singapore’s sports stadium, SportsHub, is the largest free-spanning dome structure ever built—stretching more than 1,010 feet across at its widest point.
SOURCES – Wikipedia, Arxiv, Arabian Business
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