The United Arab Emirates isn't getting as much rainfall as it would like. The solution? Build a massive, $432 billion mountain, of course.
To make this happen, the UAE has given $400,000 to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a US-based research institute funded by the National Science Foundation, to figure out some manmade methods for making it rain. According to CityLab and Arabian Business, researchers are currently in the “detailed modeling study” phase of a plan to build a mountain that could effectively control the region's weather.
The manmade mountain would mimic a natural process called “orographic precipitation.” When moist air rises up an incline, it cools as it reaches the top, creating a cloud. From that cloud, you get precipitation that falls down the mountain's opposite side, riding the direction of the wind.
While recreating this may sound far-fetched, the UAE has been studying innovative ways to create and save water for a while now. Some methods have involved hiking water prices to promote conservation and recycling sewage water.
Finding solutions becomes especially important for a country that only gets an average of three inches of rain annually, even though the average resident consumes about 145 gallons of water per day.
Business Insider estimates the water-generating mountain will cost over $400 billion to complete. And Roelof Bruintjes, NCAR scientist specializing in modifying the weather, says of the project's likelihood,
If [the project] is too expensive for [the government], logically the project won't go through, but this gives them an idea of what kind of alternatives there are for the long-term future. If it goes through, the second phase would be to go to an engineering company and decide whether it is possible or not.
For those of us who like our rain like we like our contouring to look -- all-natural -- we'll just have to content ourselves with raising our hands toward the heavens and praying water falls from it.