Rainfall experts complete more cloud-seeding trials using jet engines

Jebel Jais trials explore new methods to make it rain

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Scientists have concluded the second phase of a new push towards increasing the amount of rainfall each year in the UAE.

Experts at the National Center of Meteorology were taking part in the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), more commonly known as 'cloud seeding'.

The research looks at the possibility of using a jet engine to artificially form clouds by stimulating local updrafts.

Scientists also looked at how volcanic activity produces rainclouds to explore how similar theories could be applied to cloud seeding.

Experiments were completed at Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah – the UAE's highest peak at 1,934 metres - from December 24, 2021, to January 5, 2022.

Experts conducted 12 tests in different environmental conditions, from clear skies to different kinds of low-level cloud to compare the effects of seeding operations.

The process works via a jet engine composite system that releases a high-velocity stream of aerosol particles into the atmosphere to encourage the development of rain clouds.

“The outcomes of this project have the potential to advance our understanding of cloud formation and precipitation development through contributing new knowledge to rain enhancement science,” said Alya Al Mazroui, UAEREP's director.

“The atmospheric data gathered from this campaign answers many important questions about cloud formation and will help us determine the optimal conditions for our future rain enhancement operations."

The first phase of the project was conducted last year and came after the culmination of three years of theoretical, lab-scale, and numerical modelling work.

On average, the UAE accumulates less than 100 millimetres a year of natural rainfall. The effects of climate change and a growing population mean demand for water will continue to rise.

“We look forward to utilising the findings of such studies to develop more viable and cost-effective cloud-seeding methods that will eventually increase our rainfall rates and enhance freshwater supply," said Ms Al Mazroui.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 12:40 PM