Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 October 2020

UAE offers Dh5.5m grant to scientists who can make rain

Hundreds of cloud seeding flights take off every year and making them more efficient is the goal

The UAE is offering grants of up to Dh5.5 million ($ 1.5m) for scientists who can make rain.

The National Centre of Meteorology called on climate researchers to contribute to the National Rain Enhancement Programme.

The centre hopes to attract more researchers and position the UAE as, in its own words, “a global hub for rain enhancement”.

“While doing so, we seek to bring new perspectives to rain enhancement research and support the development of demand-driven solutions that can address the most pressing water-security challenges in the years to come,” said the centre’s director, Dr Abdulla Al Mandous.

The UAE is one of the world’s most arid countries, with about 100mm of rain a year.

The government has invested extensively in cloud seeding, which can help agriculture and help replenish natural reserves that are running dry. There are hundreds of missions annually.

Seeding improves rainfall by firing salt flares into clouds.

It is unclear how much cloud seeding helps – the NCM estimated that its missions can increase rainfall up to a third in ideal conditions.

Research areas for the fourth round of grants include weather modelling and increasing the efficiency of rain enhancement.

“This will help us direct our future research efforts towards areas with broader implications for arid regions to address their most pressing water security challenges,” said Alya Al Mazroui, the programme’s director of research.

Proposals are due in early 2021.

Nine research projects were awarded between 2015 and 2017.

Applicants can submit proposals at uaerep.ae.

Updated: October 15, 2020 09:41 AM

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