‘Climate intervention’ part of new UAE research focus on rain enhancement

File photo of rain in Sharjah for illustrative purpose only
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: Top three rain enhancement research proposals will each be awarded a $1.5 million grant by the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), it was announced on Thursday.

The announcement came as the UAEREP hosted an international assembly of leading scientists, experts, and stakeholders to discuss strategic research areas and outline roadmaps for its 6th Cycle, which will offer the grants, distributed over three years. Submissions will open to researchers worldwide at the beginning of next year.

This year, workshop participants focused on five key areas: optimised seeding materials, rain enhancement systems, autonomous unmanned systems (UAS), limited-area climate intervention, and advanced models, software, and data.

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The high-level workshop discussed the Programme’s strategic priorities, particularly exploring opportunities for partnerships with local universities and research institutions in the UAE, as well as engagement with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and other international entities.

UAEREP meeting
The experts on the sidelines of the workshop
Image Credit: WAM

UAEREP Director Alya Al Mazroui said: “By joining efforts with uniquely selected prominent scientists and experts, we have been able to successfully address our shared global challenges and lay the foundation for our 6th research grant cycle.”

The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) is a research initiative launched by the UAE Presidential Court in 2015 and overseen by the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM). The programme aims to address the critical issue of water security through advancing scientific research in the field of rain enhancement. Every two years, the programme offers up to three winning research proposals a grant of up to $1.5 million each. To date, UAEREP has awarded 14 research proposals.

The experts at the workshop covered areas of interest for rainfall enhancement applications, such as UAS communication systems and novel cloud seeding materials. Additionally, modelling and software discussions ranged from cloud chamber simulation software for microscale precipitation processes to Big Data analytics for short-term weather forecasting and cloud seeding decision support.

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Steve Griffiths, Professor of Practice, Khalifa University, and member of the UAEREP Strategic Direction Committee, said: “As the pioneering international initiative funding innovative research in rain enhancement, UAEREP’s legacy continues with the successful conclusion of this Solicitation Update Workshop. Through the cooperation of leading scientists and researchers from around the world, the team established the essential foundation for our 6th grant cycle solicitation.”

Many of the participants joined these key discussions for the first time, as UAEREP’s robust network of experts continue to seek innovative solutions for water security challenges and related environmental issues. In addition to the UAE National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), the participants are from international and local entities, such as WMO, US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, North-West University, and the Technology Innovation Institute (TII).

Professor Jurg Luterbacher, WMO Director of Science and Innovation and Chief Scientist, said: “UAEREP is an especially important programme as we continue to focus on rain enhancement possibilities, operations development, and infrastructure to ensure the sustainability of our water resources. By working together, we have successfully developed a short-term roadmap for the next few years, identifying priorities for future research calls. This collaborative effort puts us on a strong path to develop significant new research avenues that will ultimately enhance water security in the region.”