Making rain: zapping clouds with electricity

In the UAE, they’re making it rain by zapping clouds. The idea is that the zap will charge tiny rain drops and cause them to stick together. Larger drops are more likely to fall as rain. I have no idea how it’s actually supposed to work, but all I’ve seen is news reports and those are generally worthless for technical details.

Assuming this works, and apparently it does, we could use this in the US. Zap some of those clouds over the western fires and get some rain on them.

Cloud seeding has been practiced in the US since the mid 1940s.

There is still no real consensus of whether it improves precipitation in any significance amount. You can’t do it on demand over particular areas in summer.

The conditions necessary for the water vapour in clouds to work require that there is sufficient moisture in the cloud and that it is very cold, but for some reason lacks a nucleating factor to start the process. It could be a dust particle, a CO2 flake or a silver iodine crystal.

There is some evidence here (Aust) that the smoke generated by significant fires can lead to increased precipitation, but the rain doesn’t fall over the fire.

And BTW, if you want to zap electricity through the clouds it doesn’t get much better than lightning.

Well, yes, but these drones obviously generate much lower current/voltage than lightning. I suspect that makes a big difference.

The UAE also does seeding with salt, but I got the impression that the electric zapping was much more effective. However, the news reports were pretty scant on details and I could be mistaken.