NewsUAE joins forces with NASA and NCAR to pioneer cloud seeding tech

UAE joins forces with NASA and NCAR to pioneer cloud seeding tech

A couple is looking at photos on their mobile device as the sun sets and clouds form at the Final Approach Danville Terminal, an aviation-themed park space built on a man-made 25-meter-tall platform for viewing planes arriving and departing Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, on March 15, 2024. (Photo by Mike Campbell/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A couple is looking at photos on their mobile device as the sun sets and clouds form at the Final Approach Danville Terminal, an aviation-themed park space built on a man-made 25-meter-tall platform for viewing planes arriving and departing Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, on March 15, 2024. (Photo by Mike Campbell/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | NurPhoto
10:28 AM EDT, March 18, 2024

The United Arab Emirates has partnered with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and NASA to develop a cloud seeding program methodology. What exactly is cloud seeding?

Rising global temperatures place an additional burden on regions like the Middle East, extremely susceptible to the impacts of climate change. These nations are facing a severe water scarcity crisis.

Interestingly, a solution emerged in the 1990s when the United Arab Emirates adopted the methodology of enhancing precipitation, known as cloud seeding. This weather modification technique has been reported by cnbc.com.

Revolutionizing rain generation

The process involves deploying airplanes equipped with special flares or launching payloads from ground-based canons akin to rocket launchers into the sky. These projectiles release silver iodide or other crystalline materials with a structure similar to ice (e.g., dry ice) into the clouds. The ice crystals then grow within the cloud. Once they become sufficiently large and heavy, they fall to the ground as rain or snow.

In the United Arab Emirates, the annual average precipitation is less than 8 inches, a stark contrast to London's 41 inches and Singapore's 119 inches. Extreme heat can worsen the water scarcity problem, limiting the country's agricultural capabilities - according to the report.

The United Nations forecasts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people globally will face acute water shortages. However, the Middle East is particularly vulnerable to water scarcity, with about 83% of its population experiencing a high level of water shortage. This challenge underscores the importance of the cloud seeding program.

At the turn of the 21st century, Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, dedicated approximately 20 million dollars to cloud seeding research. This initiative led to the partnership with the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and NASA to further develop the cloud seeding methodology.

The debate over weather modification

During a visit to the National Meteorological Center of the United Arab Emirates, General Director Abdulla Al Mandous emphasized to CNBC that the technology "is grounded in scientific principles."

He highlighted that the Abu Dhabi program eschews the use of silver iodide, a common agent in other countries that has faced criticism for its potential adverse environmental and societal impacts, though no substantial evidence supports its toxicity at present levels.

- In our specialized aircraft, we use only natural salts and avoid any harmful chemical substances - the organization stated in a discussion with the portal.

Al Mandous revealed that the center has begun producing its own inoculant called nanomaterial, a finely coated salt with titanium oxide, which proves to be more effective than existing methods. - This offers us triple the effectiveness compared to hygroscopic flares - he remarked.

The nanomaterial is currently under trial and experimentation in various atmospheric conditions in both the United Arab Emirates and the USA.

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