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Can Artificial Mountain Change Microclimate?

FILE - The sun sets in the Rub' al-Khali desert, which encompasses most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula. One reason that such regions are so dry is that they lack vertical movement of moist air.

Most scientists believe than our planet is getting hotter and drier and that the trend will be hard to reverse, especially in flat regions such as the Arabian Peninsula.

Among other reasons these regions do not have much rainfall is a lack of so-called updraft — vertical movement of the moist air that occurs when horizontal winds hit a mountainside.

So one Persian Gulf nation, the United Arab Emirates, is seriously considering building a mountain to try to change its climate.

While it does not have experience in mountain-building, the UAE has successfully built an artificial lake — Lake Zakher, in the desert near the border with Oman.

Scientists from the U.S.-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research say they are now studying local climatology to determine the best location for and dimensions of the proposed mountain.

If the project materializes, moist air from the Gulf could climb up the mountainside and cool, while seeding the clouds from aircraft with eco-friendly chemicals would help create much needed rain, changing the local climate.