[Watch] What Caused Flooding Dubai? Storm System, Climate Change Or Cloud Seeding?

New Delhi: Dubai came to a standstill on Tuesday due to heavy rainfall, flooding portions of its major highways and the international airport. Operations at the Dubai airport were suspended for 25 minutes in the afternoon before resuming.


Shoppers inside the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping centres in the world, were amazed to see water gushing down from the ceiling and parts of the ceiling come down due to the incessant rains which is the largest rainfall event for the country in 75 years.

Social media was flooded with visuals of an inundated Dubai.

According to the Associated Press, which cited the meteorological data collected at Dubai International Airport, the city received a year and a half’s worth of rain within 24 hours. The rains began late on Monday, soaking the sands and roadways of Dubai with some 20 millimetres (0.79 inches) of rain. It further intensified on Tuesday and by the end of the day, more than 142 millimetres (5.59 inches) of rainfall had soaked Dubai. An average year sees 94.7 millimetres  (3.73 inches) of rain at Dubai International Airport.


The UAE government had issued warnings ahead of the heavy rains, urging people to stay at home and only leave “in cases of extreme necessity.” It later announced remote working until Wednesday for all federal employees.

According to CNN, the rain that plunged Dubai underwater is associated with a larger storm system traversing the Arabian Peninsula and moving across the Gulf of Oman. This same system is also bringing unusually wet weather to nearby Oman where 18 people died and southeastern Iran.

Friederike Otto, a leader in the field of assessing the role of climate change on specific extreme weather events, however, also attributed global warming as behind the unusual rainfall. “It is highly likely that the deadly and destructive rain in Oman and Dubai was made heavier by human-caused climate change,” Otto, of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, told AFP.

Bloomberg reported that the heavy rains stemmed partly from cloud seeding.

The UAE started cloud seeding operations in 2002 to address water security issues. The technique involves implanting chemicals and tiny particles — often natural salts such as potassium chloride — into the atmosphere to coax more rain from clouds.

Ahmed Habib, a specialist meteorologist, told Bloomberg that seeding planes carried out seven missions over the past two days. “For any cloud that’s suitable over the UAE you make the operation,” he said

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