Cloud seeding part of UAE’s record March rainfall


Sufian Farrah, a meteorologist and cloud seeding expert at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), said that cloud seeding operations over UAE played a part in last month's record rainfall.

Farrah said UAE made 77 seeding operations between January and the end of March 2016. This is more than tree times as many as during the same period last year. “We covered most of the available clouds in the country, so the rainfall increased," Farrah said for The National.

During the 24 hours of March 9, NCMS measured 287 mm (11.3 inches) between Dubai and Al Ain, the highest level since official record keeping began in 1977. 

On that day, a low pressure area was passing from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman to southeastern Iran producing thunderstorms, fierce winds, large hail and severe flooding. The storm system continued north toward Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Annual rainfall in UAE rarely exceeds 120 mm (4.7 inches), with the previous record for a 24-hour period being 178.9 mm (7 inches), recorded at Fujairah International Airport on December 11, 1995.

According to The National, NCMS last year launched a formal research programme for rain-enhancement science that aimed to address water security.

“Due to its arid nature, this country has always been concerned by the issue of water security, leading the Government to devise strategies to put sustainability at the core of its economic development," wrote Alya Saeed Al Mazrouei, the programme’s director, earlier this year.

See also: Heads in the clouds: how the UAE hopes to make rain for the good of the world

Featured image credit: Flooding in UAE on March 9, 2016.


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