UAE building man-made mountain to modify weather and improve rainfall

UAE building man-made mountain to modify weather and improve rainfall

With the help of experts from the US-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the United Arab Emirates is in the first stage of building a man-made mountain that aims to maximize country's efforts to modify weather and increase rainfall.

UCAR, which manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), is currently in the "detailed modeling study" phase, NCAR scientist and lead researcher Roelof Bruintjes told Arabian Business. In collaboration with the UAE's National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS), the UCAR received a fund of $400,000 in February last year to propose a “detailed modeling study evaluating the effects of building a mountain on the weather.”

“What we are looking at is basically evaluating the effects on weather through the type of mountain, how high it should be and how the slopes should be,” said Bruintjes. “We will have a report of the first phase this summer as an initial step.”

The specific location has not yet been determined as the NCAR experts are still testing out different sites across the UAE.

UAE hopes the presence of mountains will force the air to rise, creating clouds that can then be seeded to produce rain. Cloud seeding is weather modification technique designed to increase the amount of rainfall produced by clouds and NCMS is performing such operations since 2015 when a formal research programme for rain-enhancement science was established there.

Last month, NCMS Meteorologist Sufian Farrah, told The National that cloud seeding operation over UAE played a part in record-breaking March 2016 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.

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.

Featured image: Desert snow by Erik Wilde (CC - Flickr)

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