UAE’s cloud-seeding operations noteworthy - GulfToday

UAE’s cloud-seeding operations noteworthy

Cloud seeding

Image used for illustrative purpose only.

Water scarcity and drought are one of the damaging effects of climate change. In fact, the United Nations warned in a report earlier this year that the two setbacks are set to wreak damage on a scale to rival the COVID-19 pandemic with risks growing rapidly as global temperatures rise.

“Drought is on the verge of becoming the next pandemic and there is no vaccine to cure it,” Mami Mizutori, the UN’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, said.

Already, droughts have triggered economic losses of at least $124 billion and hit more than 1.5 billion people between 1998 and 2017.

To see that water scarcity does not affect its population, the UAE has adopted state-of-the-art technologies to ensure the sustainability of water resources that are mainly fed by precipitation.

Cloud seeding plays a crucial role in reengineering the planet earth through mitigating drought, enhancing water resources and ensuring its sustainability. For nearly 20 years, the UAE has carried out cloud seeding operations to effectively tackle water scarcity.

Rain enhancement helps limit global warming and its detrimental effects such as drought and high-water evaporation rates. Cloud seeding techniques are effectively used to enhance the micro-physical processes within the cloud, helping harvest more water from the cloud and enhance precipitation by a global average of 18 per cent.

To prevent the long-term consequences of climate change on future generations, the UAE has adopted cloud seeding to offset the lack of natural water resources and increase the amount of rainfall. This has allowed the country to adapt to the challenges of drought in the Arabian Peninsula, and other arid and semi-arid areas across the globe. The UAE started its cloud seeding operations in 2002 through the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) to address water security issues.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), through the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), has conducted coordinated flight testing of its novel cloud seeding nanomaterials, with the results showing an increase in the radius of cloud droplet sizes after seeding.

The achievement raised the prospect over the rain generation process.

The experiments were carried out in Texas, United States.

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of WMO, said, “The UAE has been a forerunner in adopting rain enhancement technologies in the region.”

The National Centre of Meteorology has been using ground-based seeding generators in its rain enhancement operations.

The method employs environmentally-friendly and alternative techniques, complementing the traditional method of cloud-seeding, which is carried out with the help of special aircraft.

In a bid to ensure the country’s water security, the Centre has conducted over 100 cloud seeding aircraft operations two years ago.

Cloud seeding operations are carried out on clouds forming over mountainous areas and work on multiple stages – beginning with the daily monitoring of weather forecasts – and if suitable clouds are identified on the weather radar, planes are ordered for dispatch.

Rain enhancement attempts to extract as much water from the clouds as possible, which reaches more than 25 per cent in some cases.

The National Centre of Meteorology has carried out 95 cloud seeding operations across the country in the first quarter of 2020, using a total of 2,171 flares produced by NCM’s Emirates Weather Enhancement Factory.

NCM’s cloud seeding operations demonstrate the importance placed by the UAE on providing sustainable water resources through encouraging research and innovation in water-related technologies. With an average rainfall of 100 mm per year, the UAE is among global water stressed countries, and its ambitious rain enhancement programme aims to increase the annual precipitation levels in an effort to enhance the country’s water security through augmenting its strategic groundwater resources.

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