Rain in UAE: Grace descends to the earth - GulfToday

Rain in UAE: Grace descends to the earth


Photo used for illustrative purpose.

Rain in a virtually dry place is extremely welcome, even if it comes in dribs and drabs. The spell of wet weather that the UAE has been witnessing over the New Year’s Eve weekend is very enlivening, to say the least.

Temperatures suddenly nosedived, but it was not too cold so as to make the chill unbearable. Yes, all the usual suspects were there: wet roads, scattered puddles all over the place, slow traffic, cloudy skies. Even if there is a heavy downpour, no one is complaining. Because the rain here is rare, the skies opening is a good sign. The damp weather does not dampen the spirit; rather, it draws people here out of their homes to soak in full-on enjoyment of the fresh outdoors.

It all goes to show that rainfall in the UAE is a morale-booster. Efforts are therefore on to boost rain here through some fascinating techniques.

The UAE is shoring up innovative ideas and technologies in rain enhancement science, the programme has achieved several remarkable milestones over the past few years. The solutions are very pertinent and combat the risk of water scarcity. Such efforts articulate the progressive vision of the UAE’s wise leadership. The technological innovation can only help in the quest for water sustainability through implementing scientifically-viable solutions.

And this is where research in rain enhancement comes in.

Researchers are constantly on the lookout for such mood-enhancing plans.  The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) is set to host a special ceremony on Thursday, 13th January, 2022 at Expo 2020 Dubai, under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, to announce the winners of the fourth cycle grant of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.

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

The UAE’s efforts in sustaining water resources are quite praiseworthy. 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 us harvest more water from the cloud and enhance precipitation by a global average of 18 per cent.

The potential future effects of climate change include prolonged drought in some regions and a surge in tropical storms in others. 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 country followed the conventional approach of igniting hygroscopic flares composed of natural salts (primarily potassium chloride) at the base of convective clouds near the updraft core.

In the early years, the operations targeted frequent summertime convection along the northeastern Hajar mountains. The country’s cloud seeding infrastructure subsequently expanded over the years until suitable cloud candidates were targeted year-round over the entire UAE from 2010 onwards.

The National Centre of Meteorology is the entity responsible for implementing cloud seeding operations across the UAE. The Centre boasts specialised expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure comprising more than 100 meteorological stations, an integrated network of radars covering all parts of the country, custom-designed aircraft to carry out cloud seeding operations, and a factory to produce high-quality hygroscopic salt flares for use in cloud-seeding operations.

As the noted American novelist John Updike says, “Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” A statement that could not be truer.

Related articles

Other Articles