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09 June 2023

NCM carries out 95 cloud seeding operations in Q1 2020



The National Centre of Meteorology, NCM, today revealed that it has carried out 95 cloud seeding operations across the country in the first quarter of 2020, using a total of 2,171 flares produced by NCM's Emirates Weather Enhancement Factory.

NCM’s cloud seeding operations demonstrate the importance placed by the UAE on providing sustainable water resources through encouraging research and innovation in water-related technologies.

With an average rainfall of 100 mm per year, the UAE is among global water stressed countries, and its ambitious rain enhancement programme aims to increase the annual precipitation levels in an effort to enhance the country’s water security through augmenting its strategic groundwater resources.

Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of WMO, said, "The UAE has been a forerunner in adopting rain enhancement technologies in the region."

"To achieve the objectives of UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, UAEREP, NCM has developed a wide network of local and international partners," he explained.

Al Mandous went on to highlight the NCM's state-of-the-art infrastructure, coupled with excellent research and development capabilities have helped the programme cement its prominent position in cloud seeding research, and attract top global scientists and research institutions specialised in this important scientific domain.

Also, the Emirates Weather Enhancement Factory has allowed the Centre to produce high-quality flares to use in its cloud seeding operations, he added.

NCM relies on its cloud seeding operations via a sophisticated network of radars that monitor the country’s atmosphere around the clock and provide data on clouds. A team of pilots and technicians based at NCM’s dedicated operations room analyse this data, and carry out cloud seeding operations with high accuracy and efficiency if they detect 'seedable' clouds.

The Centre provides crucial support for UAEREP awardee projects through providing advanced technologies and facilities including a network of radars, weather stations and aircrafts, and ensuring support from subject matter experts. It also facilitates testing and practical application of research projects in the UAE, enabling the awardees to achieve the objectives of their research.

The success of cloud seeding requires an advanced statistical operations and procedures, whereby cloud’s seedability is evaluated through analysing data from at least 150 cumulus clouds.

Cumulus clouds are detached, individual, cauliflower-shaped clouds that are usually spotted in fair weather conditions. All cumulus clouds develop as a result of convection, and range at base heights of 1,000 metres, with a width of up to one kilometre.

These clouds are seeded using a randomised statistical method which involves the study of physical and dynamic changes occurred in the cloud before and after seeding process by specialised experts. The first study was carried out in the country in 2004, and indicated that rain enhancement can stimulate clouds in varying degrees depending on the prevailing weather conditions.