NCM’s Cloud Seeding Nanomaterials Testing in USA Yield Promising Results

Achievement underscores the UAE’s commitment to mitigating 
some of the pressing challenges facing the world through 
innovation and R&D’ 

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 15 August 2021 – The National Center of Meteorology (NCM), through the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), has conducted a coordinated flight campaign to test its novel cloud seeding nanomaterials, with the results showing an increase in the radius of the cloud droplet size distribution after seeding. The achievement raised the prospect over the rain generation process and encouraged to conduct routine operational trials to generate enough cases for statistical testing.

The experiments were carried out in Texas, United States, in collaboration with the West Texas Weather Modification Association (WTMA) due to the environmental suitability there for such experiments to avoid signal contamination in the instruments.

His Excellency Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of the NCM and President of the Regional Association II in the Asia Region, said: “The success of this campaign is the result of NCM’s persistent effort and commitment to rely on science and innovation to address water challenges faced by countries in arid and semi-arid regions such as the Gulf and Middle East. Since the launch of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, it has made a major progress, raising prospects for the country to ensure sustainable water resources.”

Expressing a similar view, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “The latest result of our campaign underscores the UAE’s commitment to mitigating some of the pressing challenges through innovation and scientific research.” She added that the latest results provided an impetus to all those involved in the project to accelerate efforts towards making it a resounding success.

Meanwhile, a recent article by a team of researchers led by Dr Lulin Xue, chief scientist at Hua Xin Chuang Zhi Science and Technology in China and recipient of an award in the UAEREP’s Third Cycle, on simulating the effects of various seeding materials on clouds and precipitation over the UAE concluded that nanomaterials produce better effects compared to other seeding agents, especially in strong updraft conditions. It added that these nanomaterials produce positive results even for maritime clouds in which other conventional seeding material produce have no effect.

The cloud seeding campaign is a joint effort leveraging research outcomes and capabilities from two UAEREP projects. Developed by Professor Linda Zou of Khalifa University and one of the three awardees of the program’s First Cycle, the innovative cloud seeding materials are being tested by Dr. Paul Lawson, Senior Research Scientist at SPEC Incorporated, USA, and one of the program’s second-cycle awardees. 

Prof. Linda’s project was aimed at improving the effectiveness of cloud seeding technologies used to increase precipitation through engineering nanostructured properties of cloud seeding materials to help water vapor in clouds condense, a process necessary for raindrops to form. The project successfully developed and patented a customized nanomaterial composite that was shown to enhance precipitation formation during both modeling studies and lab experiments. The project also identified the required technology and procedures for cost-effective production of this material to meet actual cloud seeding mission quantity demands.

In the latest campaign, 30 nanomaterial flares were released below cloud base. A Learjet made five penetrations of turrets at 300 meters above cloud base prior to seeding, and six penetrations after seeding.

The open-atmosphere airborne tests are the result of successful laboratory-scale experiments and modeling studies carried out over the past 4 years, as well as ground tests conducted earlier in Abu Dhabi.

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