Thu 11-01-2018 13:21 PM
ABU DHABI, 11th January, 2018 (WAM) -- Leading international organisations are warning that a combination of rising populations, resource depletion and climate change threaten almost half of the world’s population with high water stress within the next decade.
The World Bank reported that 1.6 billion people live in countries and regions with absolute water shortage and predicts that this number will rise to 2.8 billion people by 2025. To raise awareness about what it regards as one of the critical challenges of the 21st century, the United Nations has focused international attention on the issue through an annual World Water Day that aims to encourage leaders, stakeholders and innovators to address this urgent problem.
In response to these global concerns, the UAE has offered a novel approach to the water security challenge by seeking to develop the science and technology of rain enhancement.
The UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, launched under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, offers a US$5 million grant designed to encourage understanding of climate phenomena and improve the efficiency of targeted cloud seeding operations.
Since its establishment, the National Centre of Metreology, NCM, has built up a strong track record in addressing technical challenges such as the collation and analysis of data on specific local cloud patterns, the selection and deployment of seeding materials for use, and identifying and tracking suitable clouds.
Omar Al Yazeedi, Director of Research, Development and Training at the NCM, explained, "Our operations have focused on towering cumuliform clouds, which are the most common rain-bearing clouds in the UAE. Naturally, there are different properties for each cloud. Based on our previous seeding operations, we estimate that cloud seeding operations can enhance rainfall by as much as 30-35 percent in a clean atmosphere, and by up to 10-15 percent in a turbid atmosphere."
To support its research mandate and ensure real time monitoring of meteorological phenomena for the concerned authorities in the UAE, NCM has established a national network of 75 automatic weather stations, six weather Doppler radar stations, and a cloud satellite monitoring station.
"To build on what we have achieved so far, we are working closely with UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science awardees on new precipitation enhancement methods, including improving our understanding of local conditions and more effective cloud seeding techniques," Al Yazeedi added.
In supporting programme awardees, NCM is deploying the considerable expertise and data resources it has built up in collaboration with prominent international and regional organisations such as the World Meteorological Organization and the Standing Committee for Meteorology and Climate for the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The significant progress already made by the programme will be further accelerated when three further awardee research projects will be announced at an awards ceremony held at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), in January 2018. These awardees have been chosen from an intensely competitive process last year that involved 201 submissions received, from 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions spread across 68 countries on five continents.