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Scientists address speculation that extreme weather event in Dubai was manipulated: 'Show me the analysis'

"Without seeing some analysis, your null hypothesis has to be that it did not contribute."

"Without seeing some analysis, your null hypothesis has to be that it did not contribute."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Scientists are expressing doubt that catastrophic flooding in Dubai was due to cloud seeding, instead suggesting it was more likely the result of warming global temperatures, the Washington Post reported. 

What happened?

In mid-April 2024, Dubai received nearly two years' worth of rain in just one day. Many people speculated that the downpour was due to a geoengineering practice used there called cloud seeding, which involves injecting a chemical called silver iodide into clouds that contain large amounts of water vapor. 

The decades-old practice, which has been used across the U.S. in states like California, New Mexico, and Kansas, has been found to encourage the formation of ice crystals, ultimately promoting precipitation. 

However, a number of scientists are now speaking out, saying that the record rainfall was more likely correlated with the warming planet. Plus, meteorologists have said the rain was a result of a natural weather system and that a significant amount of rain would have fallen whether cloud seeding was used or not.

"Show me the analysis that shows it was cloud seeding," said Texas A&M climate scientist Andrew Dessler, per the Washington Post. "Without seeing some analysis, your null hypothesis has to be that it did not contribute."

Why is Dubai's flooding concerning?

The floods in Dubai heavily impacted residents, as much of the city was covered with standing water that affected homes and businesses. The floods also caused landslides and road collapses. Transportation systems, including bus lines and flights at the international airport, were brought to a halt.

Meanwhile, a separate flooding event in neighboring Oman killed at least 18 people.

While flooding is as old as the Earth itself, an overheating planet is constantly increasing the risk of these deadly and costly natural disasters, according to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program

The effects can be devastating. For example, in early 2024, hundreds of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo lost their lives due to historic river flooding. And in late 2024, Italy experienced extreme flooding from intense rainfall that put a stranglehold on tourism, damaged homes, and caused landslides.

Floods aren't the only natural weather phenomenon affected by a warming world. Other disasters like hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, and atmospheric rivers are increasing in intensity and frequency as our changing climate "supercharges" our weather.

What's being done about increased flooding?

We can help to curb extreme weather like intense floods by taking action on global heating. One thing you can do is vote for pro-environment candidates. You can also take action in your everyday life by changing the way you get around, whether that means walking more, riding your bike, taking public transportation, or making your next vehicle electric

Meanwhile, some innovative individuals are finding new ways to help cope with flooding in the coming years. For example, some nonprofits in California have helped residents install rain gardens to protect their properties from soggy weather. 

In Vancouver, Canada, architects are looking at ways to work with flooding by integrating design elements like vertical extensions of flood-adaptive townhouses with community terraces and mid-rise buildings with public spaces that could flood without lasting damage.

Venice may have the most extreme anti-flooding project of them all — a network of 78 hinged steel floodgates along the seafloor, which is meant to protect the city from rising tides.

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