People, Environment

Iran to Use Drones for Cloud Seeding

Iran to Use Drones for Cloud SeedingIran to Use Drones for Cloud Seeding

The National Cloud Seeding Research Center plans to use unmanned aerial vehicle technology for cloud seeding in Yazd Province in what would be a first for Iran.

Quoted by ISNA, Farid Golkar, the head of research center, said an agreement was signed last year with a private company that develops drones.

“The first trial flight will be conducted in four months, but we need to spend at least a year researching this before we can use the drone effectively,” he said.

Cloud seeding, a form of weather modification, is a way of attempting to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.

However, its effectiveness is not yet certain, as success rates of cloud seeding schemes in other countries vary.

Iran, a largely semi-arid region, suffers from drought. Although different strategies have been employed to tackle the country’s declining rainfall and consequent drought, little has been gained, compelling authorities to resort to the “last solution”.

According to Golkar, cloud seeding projects have been practiced in Iran since 2008, targeting 10 provinces, namely Yazd, Isfahan, Fars, West Azarbaijan, East Azarbaijan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, South Khorasan and Kermanshah.

“In addition to the fact that cloud seeding process is a more cost-effective method than extracting water from groundwater, carrying it out with state-of-the-art technology will simplify the process,” Golkar argued.

Last December, Morteza Eftekhari, the head of Iran’s Water Research Institute, said the cost of extracting water from clouds is between 150 and 450 rials ($0.003 and $0.011) per cubic meter while the Energy Ministry is currently spending 10,000 rials ($0.26) to withdraw the same amount from groundwater resources and charges the consumers around 3,000 rials ($0.07).

Pointing to the development of technology for extracting water from atmospheric resources in the world, Golkar noted that Iran has great potential in this regard and will be able to tap into these resources, provided the authorities give due attention to the issue and allocate sufficient funds for research projects in this field.


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