Mbarara University scientist explores artificial clouds to induce rain

Mbarara University scientist explores artificial clouds to induce rain

Mbarara, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | A former scientist from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) is exploring the development of “artificial clouds” to induce rain in areas affected by drought, aiming to assist struggling farmers with crop irrigation in specific regions.

Sir Khoi Khoi believes that the science of cloud condensation or ice nuclei can be a valuable tool in addressing the challenges faced by farmers due to climate change. His Cloud Condensation project has led to the invention of Cloud Ice nuclei, an initiative focused on climate change mitigation.

Previously known for inventing the language translation application Khoinology during his tenure at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Khoi Khoi is now directing his innovation towards weather and climate science.

He expressed determination, stating, “I will not stop innovating or coming up with new things because it is important for Africa and the whole world.”

The research has progressed beyond laboratory observation, with Khoi Khoi and his team working on weather modification through cloud seeding, a technique aimed at enhancing a cloud’s ability to produce rain or snow by introducing tiny ice nuclei into specific subfreezing clouds.

Sir Khoi Khoi

During the initial trial in December of the previous year, Mbarara City experienced light rain of up to 2–4 mm of precipitation. Despite the success of cloud seeding, skeptics have raised concerns about potential disasters, including widespread floods.

Khoi Khoi acknowledged the need to determine the optimal amount of ice nuclei released into the atmosphere and highlighted the challenge of seeded clouds attracting clouds from other regions, potentially leading to insufficient rainfall.

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To address these challenges, Khoi Khoi has collaborated with a South Korean University, and a team of students and environmentalists is expected to arrive in Uganda in April for the project’s first trial in October 2024. The goal is to generate 2.9 million millimeters of rain by releasing Cloud Ice nuclei into the sky, attracting vapor and stimulating rain formation.

Khoi Khoi emphasized the significance of the project for Africa and the world, urging the Ugandan government and organizations to support their cause. Unlike some countries using silver iodide in cloud seeding, Khoi Khoi and his team are opting for a more environmentally friendly method using sea salt and dust.