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What Are Zapper Drones? The Interesting Answer!

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drone flying in front of dark storm clouds

Technology has come a long way, especially where drones are concerned. Historically, certain areas have been plagued with drought and lack of water. Thanks to drone zappers, we are now learning how to battle heat and low water just by zapping rain clouds. 

As you might expect, the science and technology behind zapper drones is confusing. To help you understand how zapper drones work, we have created this guide. You will learn everything you need to know about zapper drones and how they work below. Let’s get started.

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How Do Zapper Drones Work?

A zapper drone is a specially designed drone intended to increase the likelihood of rain. In a nutshell, this device works by zapping clouds, after which the drone is named, with an electric charge. In theory, charging the droplets within clouds increases the chances of rain.

The Science

In order to understand how zapper drones work, you have to understand the science behind the technology first. Studies have shown that smaller droplets are likely to form and merge to become big raindrops whenever the droplets have a positive or negative charge.

The size of the raindrop is imperative for this technology. Whenever raindrops are small, they fall from the clouds but evaporate before they reach the ground. By increasing the size of the raindrop, they are more likely to make it to the ground and increase rain.

rain clouds in the desert with lightning
Image Credit: Lucy Chian, Unsplash

The Technology

This drone technology has only been in action since 2017. Whenever the science was first being tested, it was tested out in Europe and Finland. Since then, the technology has even been used to actively create rain in Dubai for this year.

How the drones work ultimately relies on their unique additions. Obviously, this drone has a base drone design, but it is incredibly heavy-duty and fixed up with more enhanced features. The models used include a full autopilot system and can fly for 40 minutes.

To ensure that the drone gets the job done, it is catapulted into the sky and includes unique additions that you won’t find on most drones. For example, it has sensors that measure the charge, temperature, humidity, and charge of the emitters. This technology was developed by the UK University of Bath.

The technology is funded and overseen by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, which is an initiative of the National Center of Meteorology. Even though these zapper drones look promising, they are still in their infancy, which means these drones may change a bit over the years.

Where Are Zapper Drones Used?

As you might suspect, zapper drones are specifically being developed for places that face water shortages. According to World Wildlife, it is estimated that 1.1 billion people around the world lack access to water, whereas 2.7 billion people experience water scarcity 1 month a year. To make statistics even scarier, experts predict that as much as two-thirds of the population will be affected by water shortages by 2025.

What this means is that zapper drones will potentially be used heavily worldwide. They will specifically be used in areas where water shortages are prevalent. Since so much of the world will face water shortages within the coming years, the entire globe may benefit from this technology soon.

That being said, zapper drones are not actively used in many locations yet. Because these drones are still in their testing phases, they aren’t distributed amongst many populations. Currently, the most successful use was in Dubai, though other forms of cloud seedings are in use.

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Cloud Seeding vs Zapper Drones

Cloud seeding involves modifying the weather, specifically the amount of rainfall and snowfall. Zapper drones are used in cloud seeding. As a result, cloud seeding is a general methodology for increasing rain and snow, whereas the zapper drones are how this methodology is in place.

Zapper drones are just one way that cloud seeding is used, though. Cloud seeding also involves other methodologies, including salts and infrared rates laser pulses. The electrical charges from zapper drones are the most recent methodology, and they appear to be the most effective so far.

Advantages of Zapper Drones

The advantages of zapper drones are fairly obvious. Because zapper drones can help increase rain, this technology helps to fight water scarcity and water shortages. In areas that are already prone to water shortages, zapper drones may be a life-changer in the future.

Furthermore, the progression of climate change means that areas that have not struggled with water in the past may begin facing these problems. With this technology, some of the symptoms of climate change may be diminished so life can continue as we know it.

If zapper drones effectively start tackling the water shortage problems, they can potentially diminish wars. Many wars have been fought over land in order to get access to more resources like water. In theory, these zapper drones could decrease these sorts of wars for a more civil planet.

As you probably would figure, effective zapper drone programs can also help save billions of dollars. A lot of money is poured into aiding communities with water scarcity problems. Wars are expensive as well. By facing water problems head on and decreasing wars, that money could be spent elsewhere.

Disadvantages of Zapper Drones

Even though there are a lot of theoretical benefits of zapper drones, these benefits are still being tested and proven. Because this study only started in 2017, it is unclear if the drones will effectively work on a large scale.

Additionally, zapper drones are not a very economical option at the moment. This is largely due to the fact that the technology is not tested enough to be widespread. Because it is not an economical option yet, the communities that need the technology the most cannot afford it for the time being.

One other potential downside of zapper drones is that they pose a threat of severe weather. If the drones are not used correctly or used too much, they can create heavy snowfall and rainfall that is dangerous to the earth below.

What about health? So far, no negative impacts have been reported on human health, but the newness of the technology may work against this fact and prove health problems down the line. Likewise, the long-term effects on the environment are unknown.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification. It increases the cloud’s ability to snow or rain. Zapper drones are a tool used in cloud seeding, though there are other techniques for cloud seeding as well.

Can we create rain?

No. We cannot create rain, but we have the technology to induce rain. Using zapper drones, the electrical charge gives clouds a better opportunity to rain, but we aren’t actively creating the rain.

What countries use cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding has been tested since about the 1950s. Today, the technology is used in different forms around the globe. It can be found in parts of Asia, North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

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Zapper drones are unique technologies that increase rainfall and snow. This technology can help face and eliminate water shortages and scarcity. Although the technology still has a long way to go, it will be interesting to see how the technology improves and how it helps our planet.

At the same time, it’s important that we learn the risks associated with this technology to ensure we keep our planet and selves safe.

Featured Image Credit: kckate16, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.