More rains to hit UAE: 22 cloud-seeding missions carried out since June

Top official explains why the country experienced rainstorms last week — and he stressed that it wasn't entirely because of cloud-seeding


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 9 Aug 2023, 3:43 PM

Last updated: Wed 9 Aug 2023, 11:01 PM

Twenty-two cloud-seeding missions have been conducted in the UAE since June, boosting the rains that recently fell on the country, the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) has told Khaleej Times.

More rains are expected in the country this weekend — particularly between Fujairah and Sharjah, and Al Ain and Dubai, a top NCM official said.

“We conduct cloud-seeding operations every year whenever there are convective clouds. This increases the amount of rainfall. But it’s important to note that these operations increase the amount of rainfall, it doesn’t create rain,” said Dr Ahmed Habib from the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).

"From June to August 9, we have conducted 22 cloud-seeding operations."

What is cloud-seeding and how is it done in the UAE?

Cloud-seeding is a method of boosting a cloud's capacity to produce rain.

Key to this process is spotting convective clouds — which are perfect for the mission because of their rain-bearing capacity. A special aircraft would shoot salt flares into these clouds to enhance rainfall.

Rain enhancement missions began in the UAE in the late 1990s, and since then, there has been an increase in cloud-seeding operations every year.

Will there be more rain in the coming days?

Until Saturday, there are chances of convective cloud formation associated with rainfall, Habib said. Showers could be of different intensities, accompanies by lightning and thunder at times in some parts of the country — especially in the east, south, and extending towards some internal areas and Al Dhafrah region.

"Actually, in this season, we are affected by the Indian monsoon. So, there is an extension of this effect in our areas as well. This is sometimes strong and at other times weak — but last week, this effect was strong," the NCM official said.

"We are expecting that over the next few days...especially this weekend, similar waves are coming towards the east," he added

Something known as Intertropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ is affecting the region during this period. With the rise in temperatures during the day, local rainy convective clouds are expected to form.

Explaining why the UAE experienced rainstorms last week, Habib said: “The country was under the effect of the extension of the easterly flow that’s typically associated with low pressure. This was happening in the surface layer and the upper layers. This caused a humid air mass that came from the Oman Sea and the Arabian Sea — and finally reached our area."

"It started in the eastern part of the UAE and also in the mountains (in the east) as it reached the surface layer. All these parameters together caused the formation of convective clouds in the east and also in the south at times. The characteristics of this entail strong winds that lead to heavy rain and even hail," he added.


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