Project of promise & potential - Saudi Gazette

Project of promise & potential

UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science meets with leading researchers in UK

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Meeting with Professor Giles Harrison of the University of Reading2

THE UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science hosted a series of meetings with leading UK researchers working on climatology and meteorology as part of its summer 2017 European roadshow.

Reflecting its growing international status as a rain enhancement leader, the Program held meetings with noted experts and leading scientific institutions in London and nearby cities on Aug. 10-15. Following a meeting with one of the awardees of the Program’s Second Cycle, Professor Giles Harrison of the University of Reading, the team visited the European Center For Medium Weather Forecasts, the European Space Agency and Imperial College.

Dr. Abdullah Al Mandous, director of the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), said: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is inspired by the conviction that our common water security and management challenges can only be addressed through knowledge-sharing and cooperation with international partners. I am very pleased to discuss our exciting and innovative projects and their future potential with leading UK stakeholders. The UAE is committed to working with such partners for our common benefit. I am sure that our visit will open up new avenues for productive collaboration and confirm the excellent progress that we have already made in advancing rain enhancement science and technology.”

Professor Harrison commented: "Understanding the role of electric charge in the generation of rain could boost precipitation levels without the use of artificial chemicals. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has already played a major role in allowing international science networks to flourish and identify new frontiers in cloud seeding science and technology. The Program team’s visit to the University of Reading will introduce them to the efforts made in the UK in areas related to atmospheric science, and I thank them for their invaluable efforts in providing scientists with the support they need to translate their ideas into reality."

Professor Harrison’s project, “Electrical aspects of rain generation”, is based on the natural occurrence of electrical charges and their potential to modify water droplets even when clouds are not charged to the extent that leads to thunderstorms. This project will investigate the electrical properties of clouds through theoretical and experimental work, firstly to model the growth of charged drops to raindrops, and secondly to measure and modify charges using balloons and aircraft.

An innovative aspect is the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to artificially modify the electrical properties of the clouds. A promising attribute of the electrical seeding approach is that it leaves no local environmental residues, as the UAVs are electrically powered, hence pollution-free.

Professor Harrison commented that: “An analysis of the potential of electrical charges to enhance rainfall could offer scope for boosting precipitation levels without deploying artificial seeding substances. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has already played a major role in catalyzing the growth of the international networks needed to identify new frontiers in cloud seeding science and technology. I am very grateful for the Program team’s visit, and their invaluable efforts in facilitating the growth of productive international scientific networks and in providing talented scientists with the support and space they need to make the most of their ideas.”

Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE in early 2015 and managed by the UAE National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has already attained a leading position in the common quest to address water security challenges through effective international cooperation aimed at advancing innovative scientific and technical research and innovation in the field of rain enhancement. Offering a grant of $5 million to be shared by up to five winning research proposals, the Program has generated extensive interest among leading scientists and technologists around the world.

Reflecting the Program’s outstanding success in building its international profile, this year’s third cycle call for research proposals led to 201 submissions being received: these pre-proposals represented 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions across a truly global spread of 68 countries on five continents.

The success of the Program’s call for submissions confirms the status of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as world leaders in this scientific field. By serving as a hub for an internationally recognized research network, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is moving from strength to strength in facilitating active knowledge transfers needed to ensure sustainable development and economic growth in those regions of the world that are most vulnerable to aridity and water shortages.

The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs and overseen by the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), offers a grant of $5 million over a three-year period to be shared by up to five winning research proposals. The Program was launched with the aims of addressing water security challenges and placing the UAE at the international forefront of scientific research into rain enhancement. In the context of the UAE’s Innovation Strategy, the Program is structured to develop human capital and stimulate investment in research in this field for the benefit of arid and semi-arid regions around the world. — SG


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