UAE conducts 95 cloud seeding missions in first three months of 2020

Weather experts are continuing to take flight to boost the country's rainfall

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UAE weather experts took to the skies to complete 95 cloud seeding missions in the first three months of the year.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) said it fired 2,171 flares loaded with salt crystals into clouds as part of an effort to increase the country's annual rainfall.

The regular flights are viewed as crucial to bolstering water security in a country in where 100 millimetres of rain fall each year on average.

Figures from Weather Online website suggested that last year Austria, a European nation with a population similar to the UAE's nine million people, received eight times the UAE's rainfall.

While the UAE is traditionally dry for much of the year and baked in sunshine, there have been a number of spells of rain in recent months.

The UAE was hit by several days of stormy weather in January, causing flash flooding in many parts of the Emirates.

The deluge was thought to be largely the result of a storm that swept through a large part of the region, from Saudi Arabia, into the UAE, Iran, and on to Oman.

More rain is forecast for this week, however, and the increased frequency of drizzly weather and overcast skies could be aided by cloud seeding.

Austria, China and Australia are some of the other countries that now use the method routinely.

The NCM has said that in hazy conditions there was likely to be a 10 to 15 per cent increase in the rainfall generated by a cloud, while in clearer conditions the increase was about 35 per cent, but more research was needed to determine its true effect.

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, director of NCM, said cloud seeding operations were vital to efforts to increase rainfall.

"In line with the directives of the UAE's wise leadership to ensure the safety and sustainability of our water resources, NCM plays a prominent role in carrying out cloud seeding operations using the latest scientific and technological methods."

How cloud seeding works

How cloud seeding works

Alya Al Mazroui, director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, said advancing technologies were key to the programme.

“Our ambitious programme articulates the UAE’s sustained efforts to bring about a profound change in the way we address water stress challenges through leading scientific and research efforts and leveraging innovative technologies," Ms Al Mazroui said.