UAE trials new nano-technology to make cloud seeding more effective

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Image: UAEREP

This could mean a lot more rainy days in Dubai…

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) is trialling a new method of cloud seeding in the northern and eastern parts of the country. The new material includes nano-technology which aims to make the process more effective, resulting in more rainfall.

Cloud seeding has been carried out in the UAE for the past two decades, with over 200 flights taking place in 2017. Technologies have evolved over time and practices have become more effective, offering an additional water source to a country which typically has less than 120 millimetres of rainfall per year.

How does it work?

The new technology injects salt crystals with a titanium dioxide nanoparticle coating into existing, convective clouds with the hope of making rain particles denser, and more likely to fall. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement (UAEREP) has been testing the method in the lab with much success.

A custom-designed Learjet left Al Ain airport on Saturday September 21, headed in search of the right type of clouds to seed. The previous method, which used a material mostly made of salt crystals, was effective in some cases but according to UAEREP, the new materials have a ‘much higher ability to initiate condensation of water vapour and droplet growth in the clouds’.

Professor Linda Zou of Khalifa University, who is leading the team behind the research project, said: “Nanotechnology opens up the possibility of engineering unique cloud seeding particles to make the process of water condensation and rain precipitation more efficient”.

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs launched UAEREP in early 2015 to ‘stimulate rain enhancement research and accelerate water security through international cooperation in scientific research and development’.

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