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For decades, the UAE has been at the forefront of the efforts to make it rain in its arid climate through cloud seeding.
Now, the country has launched a month-long cloud-seeding campaign to enhance technologies that trigger rainfall nationwide.
The National Centre of Meteorology partnered with Stratton Park Engineering Company, a US climate research institute, to conduct experiments.
The Cloudix initiative, cloud-aerosol-electrical interactions for rainfall enhancement experiment, will test the effectiveness of different cloud seeding methods. Moreover, NCM’s cloud-seeding aircraft and SPEC’s Learjet will be strapped with advanced instruments and sensors that will aid in gathering data.
“A group of researchers and pilots will cross-examine the performance of different cloud seeding materials with and without electric charges,” said NCM. Test flights have already begun at Al Ain International Airport this week and will continue until the end of September, stretching through all the emirates and sections of Oman.
“This research campaign demonstrates NCM’s active role in promoting innovative research in areas related to national priorities, including water security,” said Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, president of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and director general of NCM.
He added that NCM’s increasing rainfall benefits future generations at risk of water shortage. “Such efforts strengthen the UAE’s prominent role in addressing water sustainability challenges, particularly as the country is gearing up to host COP28 in November.”
NCM staff will undergo training in conducting cloud physics research and analyzing data for the initiative.
In April, NCM announced its plans to add more advanced cloud-seeding planes to its fleet, signing an agreement with Calidus Aerospace in Abu Dhabi to acquire its high-tech aircraft. The Wx-80 turboprop aircraft can carry larger materials required for cloud-seeding operations and boasts advanced safety features and other systems.