17 Feb The UAE dances the rain dance

Once one would have danced the rain dance. Nowadays it seems that a scientific study can increase the level of rainfall. The research could only be funded by a place where rain is in short supply: the United Arab Emirates.

The winners of the first cycle of the .UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science were announced in Abu Dhabi over the last few days.

The initiative, held under the aegis of High Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Vice Prime Minister, took place with a ceremony as part of the 2016 Sustainability Week.

The funding, worth 5m dollars and made available since the first edition of the Program, was awarded to research groups from Japan, the UAE and Germany.

The UAE research program to increase rainfall decided to reward projects that put forward creative and innovative ideas on forecasts and control over clouds, cloud modelling and the use of cloud-seeding agents.

The program kick-started new scientific research relating to the increase of rainfall on a global scale with the progress of science, technology and implementation techniques and by increasing rainfall levels to ensure water safety in the UAE and in other arid and semi-arid regions. During cloud-seeding operations, the program has four main objectives: improving the level of research and innovation in the sector; further studying the scientific knowledge on the increase of precipitations; developing cutting-edge techniques as part of practices and operations to increase rainfall; finally, accelerate and build additional expertise in the sector, both at a local and global level.

The three scientists leading the research groups that won the program will receive the 5m-dollar funding for this cycle and are: Masataka Murakami, Visiting Professor from the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University (Japan), for the work he conducted on the increase of rainfall in arid and semi-arid regions. Professor Murakami’s project is related to innovative algorithms and sensors designed to identify the most suitable clouds for the seeding process.  Researchers from Tokyo University and Japan’s Meteorological Agency contributed to this research project. Linda Zou, Chemical and Environmental Engineering Professor of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (UAE), for the work carried out on the use of nanotechnologies to accelerate water condensation. Prof. Zou’s study examines the different ways of using current knowledge on nanotechnologies to develop cloud seeding materials and ensure the process during which rain drops are formed is more efficient. Members of the National University of Singapore and the University of Belgrade also contributed to the work of Prof. Zou. Volker Wulfmeyer, General Director, Professor and Head of the Physics and Meteorology at the Institute of Physics and Meteorology at Hohenheim University (Germany) for his work on optimising cloud-seeding. The work of Prof. Wulfmeyer is a detailed examination of convergence zones and changes in soil coverage to increase rainfall levels.

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