Dubai has received its highest rainfall in 75 years, recording rainfall equivalent to one and a half times its annual average within a single day. 


  • Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a desert city known for its arid climate with an average annual rainfall below 100 mm.
  • This extreme weather event caused significant disruptions, highlighting the city’s vulnerability to changing weather patterns.
  • The Annual Climate Assessment 2022 for the UAE (released by the National Center of Meteorology, UEA) noted that the Arabian peninsula is sensitive to climate fluctuations and is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. 

Possible Causes

  • Cloud Seeding: Interaction with local weather phenomena and cloud seeding operations may have accentuated the intensity of the rainfall in Dubai. 


  • Mumbai and Dubai (separated by 2,000 km of the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf) experienced contrasting extreme weather phenomena.
  • While Dubai experienced a flood-like situation, Mumbai sweltered under an intense humid heat wave. 
  • Both these events were triggered by a massive anticyclone in the northern Indian Ocean.
  • Anticyclones are generally related to large-scale and elongated heatwaves (as witnessed in Mumbai). 
  • However, they also form a blocking pattern that doesn’t let other weather systems pass by and create conditions for extreme weather on their peripheries as well. 
  • According to experts, the anticyclone blocked the passing of a western disturbance over West Asia, which may have induced the storm system that caused the rainfall and lightning.
  • Climate Change: General warming and increased moisture levels in the atmosphere further fueled the extreme weather events. 


  • An anticyclone is a large, high-pressure zone with sinking air at its center. This sinking air warms and dries, leading to clear skies and dry weather. They’re common in subtropics and influence weather patterns regionally. 
  • Winds in an anticyclone blow clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

Response and Adaptation

  • Effective communication and timely warnings are crucial in mitigating the impact of such extreme weather events.
  • Measures such as providing information on hydration centres, shelters, and free public transportation can help communities cope with extreme heat.

Environmental and Climate Context

  • The transition from El Nino to La Nina, along with warming trends in West Asia and the Arabian Sea, contribute to the unusual weather patterns.
  • Increased humidity exacerbates the thermal energy, making the conditions more challenging.


Understanding the complex interactions between weather systems and local factors is essential for preparing and responding to extreme weather events. 

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