The secret behind UAE rains: It’s not just cloud seeding


In a bid to ensure the country’s water security.

The National Centre of Meteorology has been using ground-based seeding generators in its rain enhancement operations in the UAE since March 2019.

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

In a bid to ensure the country’s water security, the centre has conducted 150 cloud seeding aircraft operations so far this year.

“The use of ground-based seeding generators in cloud seeding is new to the country. These generators are fitted with 48 special flares that are loaded with salt crystals and fired into convective, or warm clouds accompanied with updraft or rising current of air,” Khalid Alobeidli, the Centre’s Head of Cloud Seeding Section, says.

“The updraft then sucks up the salt crystals into the clouds,” he explains, adding, “The salts attract tiny water droplets and collide with others to enhance the coalescence process, which accelerates the growth of water droplets in the clouds into bigger droplets that eventually lead to rainfall.”

These generators are solely controlled from the operating room at the National Centre of Meteorology, Alobeidli said.

Alobeidli also notes that 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.

“Pilots are contacted to prepare and install seeding flares in their planes based at Al Ain Airport, for easier access to the eastern regions of the country.”

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

The cloud seeding projects, managed by the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, continue to contribute to enhancing new knowledge of cloud-seeding through dynamic scientific and technological innovations.

These efforts reiterate the UAE’s global leadership in developing rain enhancement research, as well as its ambitious vision and commitment to utilising modern technology to make a real difference in human life across the world, especially in arid regions.

Launched under the patronage of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and managed by the National Centre of Meteorology under its mandate as the UAE’s solely responsible body for meteorological services, the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is a leading global hub of advanced expertise in a broad range of scientific fields dedicated to addressing water security challenges through innovative research.

The programme will continue to seek innovative solutions that help enhance water security through its extensive research agenda, based on grant-based projects, collaboration with international institutions, and practical applications of modern scientific and technological innovations.

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