UAE to carry out hundreds of cloud-seeding missions to tackle water scarcity

UAE to carry out hundreds of cloud-seeding missions to tackle water scarcity

The United Arab Emirates is set to carry out hundreds of cloud-seeding missions this year to tackle water scarcity in the region.

Led by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science – National Center of Meteorology (UAEREP-NCM), they are expected to carry out up to 300 cloud-seeding missions to encourage rainfall.

As the region is one of the hottest areas in the world, the effort to increase precipitation has been happening for more than 23 years as climate change impacts have intensified the pressure on water resources.

An NCM official told Al Arabiya English: “The UAE carries out nearly 300 cloud-seeding missions each year, and the frequency can vary based on factors such as weather patterns, cloud availability, and climatic conditions.”

They added that a “roughly” similar number of missions will be carried out this year, depending on the availability of “amenable clouds.”

The official said: “The NCM analyzes these variables to make informed decisions on when and how often cloud-seeding operations should take place throughout the year. The goal is to optimize the effectiveness of rain enhancement strategies for the benefit of water security in the UAE and other arid and semi-arid regions.”

According to the organisations, cloud-seeding demonstrated the potential to increase precipitation by up to 15 per cent, which could positively impact annual rainfall.

They added: “The UAE views water security as a fundamental component of national security, particularly given its arid climate characterized by minimal annual rainfall, high surface water evaporation rates, and a low groundwater recharge rate.

“With a considerable gap between annual water usage and available resources, the country recognizes the critical importance of addressing water scarcity challenges through exploring innovative solutions that contribute to the sustainability of water resources – not only within the UAE, but also in other arid regions globally.

“Cloud-seeding technology operates by introducing seeding agents at the lower part of clouds that have favorable updrafts,” said the NCM official.

“These agents are carried upward into the clouds, enhancing microphysical processes such as condensation and coalescence.”