UAE to see more rain? In 2024, the first cloud-seeding missions are launched.

December 2023 saw less rain in the UAE than usual, which made the winter milder than in prior years. Still, we’re hoping for a meteorological makeover if cloud-seeding efforts continue in 2024.

In the United Arab Emirates, cloud seeding generates between 84 and 419 million cubic meters of usable water annually, or at least 15% more rainfall than usual.

The National Centre of Meteorology’s (NCM) Dr. Ahmed Habib provided insight into the UAE’s ongoing cloud-seeding efforts by identifying the precise locations where these rain-enhancement initiatives have been carried out this year.

He said, “Both Monday and Tuesday witnessed cloud cover in the northern region of the country accompanied by sporadic light rain. Consequently, we conducted a cloud-seeding operation in the northern areas of the UAE, specifically over Hatta, certain regions north of Al Ain, and parts of Fujairah.”

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Dryer and Warmer Winter in UAE

Talking about the lower amount of rainfall December received in 2023, he said, “The country experienced rainfall but not heavy rains unlike the previous years. In December, the average rainfall has been lower. This is due to the system pressure affecting both the surface and upper layers across the UAE.”

Higher amounts of rainfall were recorded in the nation in November and January of prior years, which even resulted in meteorological conditions that were unstable in 2022 during this period.

Habib said, “This year has seen a slight increase in warmth overall, with temperatures surpassing the usual averages. However, certain areas have not followed this pattern, experiencing relatively cooler conditions as well.”

Rainfall in Saudi Arabia and the surrounding areas looked promising in 2023. However, he said that the country’s protracted high pressure has impeded the rain-bearing clouds’ ability to spread throughout the area.

water scarcity issue in UAE

The UAE has found that cloud seeding is a creative way to deal with the problem of water scarcity. Initiated by the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is overseen by the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) with the goal of promoting rain enhancement research and enhancing water security.

Cloud seeding intentionally increases precipitation by adding specific materials to the clouds, increasing the amount of water available for agriculture, industry, and household consumption.

Every year, the country performs about 900 hours of cloud-seeding missions on average. Meteorologists and specialists at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) oversee this extremely well-organized process.

Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAEREP, said in an earlier interview, “The remarkable technological and scientific advancements achieved by UAEREP continue to gain global recognition due to their significant potential for wider applications in countries facing similar water scarcity challenges.”

Cloud seeding involves specific airplanes taking to the skies with flares that contain nucleating agents. When these substances are discharged into convective clouds, they encourage the growth of cloud droplets, which makes them bigger until they eventually hit a threshold and start to rain.

“These advancements have not only positioned the UAE at the forefront of rain enhancement research but have also inspired global interest in rain enhancement research as a viable and sustainable alternative to our conventional fresh-water sources,” Mazroui added.

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