Morocco and Ethiopia have cloud-seeding programs — a technology that is 75 years old yet still unproven — as does Iran and Saudi Arabia. A half-dozen other Middle Eastern and North African countries are considering starting one. China has the most ambitious program in the world, which aims to either stimulate rain or halt hail across half the country.
The unquestioned regional leader is the United Arab Emirates. After 20 years of research and experimentation, the country runs its cloud-seeding program with near military protocols. Nine pilots rotate on standby, ready for meteorologists to spot a promising weather formation.
Israel, a pioneer in cloud seeding, halted its program in 2021 after 50 years because it seemed to yield at best only marginal gains in precipitation. But the leader of the U.A.E.’s program claims at least a 5 percent increase in rain annually — and almost certainly far more.
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