Heavy rains in UAE: 13 cloud-seeding missions carried out in last 3 days

The country routinely undertakes cloud-seeding missions, and the enhancement technology is known to have boosted rains by up to 25 per cent

By Lamya Tawfik and Sahim Salim

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Published: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 7:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 11:15 AM

The heavens have opened up over the UAE, with all seven Emirates receiving heavy rains, hail and thunderstorms on Wednesday. The unstable weather continued today, with rains forecast till at least Friday.

Since Monday, the UAE has carried out 13 cloud-seeding missions, a spokesperson for the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) told Khaleej Times. However, it is not possible to ascertain if the missions caused the rains.

“We cannot make that cause-effect connection when it comes to cloud seeding. Since the start of January, we have carried out 44 missions,” the spokesperson added.

The UAE routinely undertakes cloud seeding missions, and the enhancement technology is known to have boosted rains by up to 25 per cent.

A senior official had told Khaleej Times that since 2015, the UAE has tried and tested different methodologies to enhance rain and address issues of water security. Cloud seeding has been the “most efficient” so far, the official said.

The UAE records an average of 100mm of precipitation every year. However, in recent years, the intensity of rainfall has gradually increased.

Cloud seeding missions are carried out throughout the year — even during the summer. The team identifies convective clouds, after which custom-made aircraft injects salt flares into them to increase the chance of precipitation.

When asked if the hail is an expected weather pattern this time of the year, the NCM spokesperson said the icy rains can happen any time there is a drop in temperature. “Sometimes, it hails even during the summer.”

Technically speaking, the current weather situation is caused by a “surface low pressure system extension from the southwest with an extension of an upper air trough from the north accompanied with a western air flow with cold and humid air mass in the upper air”.

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