Warmer Winters in the UAE: Understanding the Meteorological Shifts
A Noticeable Change in Winter Weather Patterns
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently experienced a milder winter compared to previous years. Experts from the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) have observed that the average temperatures in December were higher than usual. In January, daytime temperatures are expected to hover around 24ºC, dipping to about 15ºC in the evenings. Mountainous regions might experience even lower temperatures, contrasting with the milder general climate.
Insights from Meteorological Experts
Dr. Ahmed Habib from the NCM discussed these changes with Khaleej Times, noting that both December and January saw increased temperatures overall, alongside a decrease in rainfall compared to past years. While some areas experienced cooler conditions, the overall trend indicates warmer temperatures than the average. Typically, this month would see a drop in temperatures, leading to cooler days and cold nights.
Climatic Factors Influencing the Weather
The changes in weather patterns are attributed to various climatic factors. A high-pressure system ridge over Siberia is expanding, bringing a cold air mass that affects the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula. The region is also influenced by a series of low-pressure systems that traverse from west to east and the occasional extension of the Red Sea trough, which can lead to cloud development and sporadic rainfall.
Rainfall Trends and Wind Patterns
December 2023 recorded lower rainfall compared to previous years during the same month. The year 2022, from November to January, had more favorable conditions for rainfall, resulting in unstable weather conditions. However, the UAE’s winter season is characterized by strong northwesterly winds, known as the Shamal, which cause blowing sand and dust, especially in inland areas. These winds contribute to rough seas, increased wave heights, and higher relative humidity in the mornings, enhancing the chances of fog and mist, particularly over inland areas.
Cloud Seeding Efforts
The UAE’s proactive approach to weather modification through cloud seeding has been ongoing. Dr. Habib mentioned that cloud-seeding operations in 2024 have already commenced, particularly in the northern regions of the country. These operations are aimed at generating at least 15% extra rainfall annually. The targeted areas for cloud seeding include Hatta, regions north of Al Ain, and parts of Fujairah.
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