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What UAE is doing to boost rainfall in the country

What UAE is doing to boost rainfall in the country

Abu Dhabi - The campaign is being spearheaded by UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sat 21 Sep 2019, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 22 Sep 2019, 8:39 PM

A research campaign has been launched to investigate the efficiency of unique and innovative new cloud seeding materials through flights and testing that took place from Al Ain Airport over the northern and eastern parts of the UAE.
The campaign is being spearheaded by UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.
Linda Zou, a professor at Khalifa University and one of the three awardees of the Programme's First Cycle, and team carried out tests on core and shell composite nanomaterials for their effectiveness as cloud condensation nuclei by dispersing them into clouds.
A custom-designed Learjet research aircraft equipped with sophisticated sensors and measurement probes is being utilised to gather data of the cloud components, which is being led by the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), in cooperation with global experts in the field.
Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, director of the NCM and president of Regional Association II in the Asia Region, said:  "I am delighted that the highly creative work undertaken by Professor Zou's team has progressed to the extent that the groundbreaking materials developed are ready for field testing and potential large-scale production.
"This result demonstrates how NCM through the programme is succeeding in attracting significant participation from leading international scientific experts and helping to boost water security for those at risk around the world."
This campaign is an important part of the NMC's implementation and testing plan, which consists of a titanium dioxide nanoparticle layer coated on the salt crystals.
Experimental results obtained so far through laboratory testing and analysis suggest that the materials have a much higher ability to initiate condensation of water vapour and droplet growth in the clouds than the salt crystals that is currently used for rain enhancement in the UAE.
The originality of Professor Zou's research project is demonstrated in the filing of two worldwide patents with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2017 and 2018 for a new application of cloud seeding through nanotechnology. Now, the technology has moved from laboratory to the scale-up process. The nanomaterials could potentially be cost-effective when produced on a large scale.
Professor Zou said: "Nanotechnology opens up the possibility of engineering unique cloud seeding particles to make the process of water condensation and rain precipitation more efficient."
Alya Al Mazroui, director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement, said: "The success of Professor Zou's team's innovative project demonstrates that the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is already bearing fruit in terms of generating new knowledge with real-world applications."

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