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UAE Conducts Cloud Seeding Campaign to Enhance Rainfall

NCM in the UAE has finished a month-long campaign called Cloud-Aerosol-Electrical Interactions for Rainfall Enhancement Experiment (CLOUDIX).

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) in the UAE has completed a month-long Cloud-Aerosol-Electrical Interactions for Rainfall Enhancement Experiment (CLOUDIX) campaign. 

This campaign involved a series of coordinated flight missions across the UAE airspace to gather crucial data to enhance regional rainfall.

Addressing Water Shortage Challenges:

Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Director General of NCM highlighted that this campaign is part of the UAE’s efforts to solve water shortage challenges. 

It involves advanced research in meteorology and weather modification to support water security in the region.

Collaboration with UAEREP and SPEC:

The field campaign was conducted under the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) in collaboration with Stratton Park Engineering Company (SPEC), a US-based company specializing in cloud physics research and instrumentation. 

SPEC was awarded a UAEREP grant for a pioneering research project focused on the properties of seeding materials.

Data Gathering and Cloud Seeding Approaches:

During the campaign, research aircraft from SPEC gathered data on cloud properties and electrical characteristics at different altitudes within a target cloud. 

The NCM aircraft performed cloud seeding using three distinct approaches: Nanomaterial Seeding, Large Salt Particle Seeding, and Conventional Hygroscopic Flares.

Aircraft and Instruments Used:

The research was conducted using NCM’s King Air cloud seeding aircraft and an instrumented research Learjet aircraft operated by SPEC. 

Onboard instruments measured meteorological and cloud variables, including the number and size allocations of cloud particles like droplets, raindrops, and ice crystals, as well as detailed imagery.

Consolidating Data and Investigating Results:

As multiple instruments were employed during the campaign, the research team is working to consolidate data from various sources to ensure consistency in the results. 

They are particularly interested in exploring potential variations in aerosol sizes based on the charging state, aiming to enhance their understanding of convective cloud dynamics and develop more efficient rain enhancement strategies for arid and semi-arid regions.

Challenges and Success:

Dr. Paul Lawson, Senior Research Scientist at SPEC, acknowledged the challenges faced during the campaign, including the unpredictability of cloud formation locations. 

However, the team successfully conducted multiple cloud penetrations through meticulous planning and coordination between the aircraft, gathering valuable data to address water scarcity challenges.

Precise Flight Planning:

Each morning, the aircraft crews reviewed weather information and forecasts, guiding flight plans and making adjustments as necessary to ensure measurements within active cloud regions.

The insights gained from this campaign will be crucial in advancing the UAE’s efforts to enhance rainfall in the region, address water scarcity, and promote sustainable water resources.

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