Recent reports say Swiss scientists working for the ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi last year successfully created 52 rainstorms in a usually arid region of the United Arab Emirates, using secret technology.
Most of the storms were created in Al Ain, near Abu Dhabi, during July and August -- the height of summer when conditions are usually parched.
The founder of the Swiss company running the project, Meteo Systems International, boasted of the project's success.
"We have achieved a number of rainfalls," trumpeted Helmut Fluhrer.
Meteo Systems International, hired by United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to develop and test the technology, used giant ionizers resembling lampshades on steel poles to generate fields of negatively charged particles.
A statement on the company's website promoting the invention it has called Weathertec reads:
"Since mankind can no longer take abundant supplies of fresh water for granted, our brightest minds, energy and resources must focus on finding solutions today. For our planet's future, innovative plans and the most sophisticated technologies are needed both to tackle water shortages that lead to food crises, and to protect the environment by producing more clean, green hydro energy. Therefore, we have both the opportunity -- and the moral obligation -- to develop, use and invest in these solutions."
The latest developments are different from "cloud seeding," which has met with varying degrees of success in its 20-year history.
In 2008, chunks of cement fell from a plane and crashed into a Moscow home after an attempt to clear rain clouds from the Russian sky failed.
However, some American weather experts called the apparent Abu Dhabi breakthrough baloney.
"That's garbage, that's absolute garbage," Joseph Golden, a former senior meteorologist at the Forecast Systems Lab of the National Weather Service, told Fox News.
"I don't believe that for a nanosecond. You aren't going to get anything out of clear skies. I don't want to sound like Tom Cruise here, but show me the data."
Fox News also reported that, apparently unperturbed by critics, Meteo Systems filed a patent application on Feb. 4 for the technology.
The application describes "methods and devices for modifying atmospheric conditions, known in this context as weather modification, by enhancing electric forces exerted on and between particles of atmospheric air, such as water particles, aerosols, molecular clusters, and water molecules possessing their own electric dipole moment."
"They're making some rather rash claims, and I'm very skeptical," said Golden.
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