National Center of Meteorology Successfully Completed Phase 1 of Innovative Research Campaign

  • Field experiments carried out on UAE’s highest peak to explore the possibility of artificial cloud formation by stimulating local updrafts
  • Test campaign brings together team of local and international experts led by Professor Abshaev, pioneer in weather modification research and applications

The National Center of Meteorology (NCM), through the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), successfully completed the first phase of an innovative research campaign to explore the possibility of artificial cloud formation by stimulating local updrafts. The experiments are conducted using an innovative jet engine composite system which releases a high-velocity stream of customized aerosols particles into the atmosphere to trigger cloud formation.

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As a culmination of three years of theoretical, lab-scale and numerical modeling work conducted by the project team, Phase 1 of their field campaign in the UAE entails the logistical and engineering setup and testing ahead of Phase 2 which is dedicated for the scientific demonstrations planned this November-February period. Phase 1 was conducted from February 17 to March 26 in Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah – the UAE’s highest peak at 1,934 metres above sea level.  The campaign benefits from Professor Abshaev’s wealth of experience in field campaigns in the mountains of the North Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and South America.

To support the field experiments and gather key atmospheric data on updraft formation in the mountainous parts of the UAE, the team successfully deployed and tested their innovateive jet engine composite system on the Jebel Jais, in addition to their advanced scientific measurement instrumentation, including a custom-made weather drone, microwave radiometer, wind lidar, fog cannon, thermal infrared imager, among others.

The team conducted a series of the 3 successful tests of their jet engine system and observed the creation of a strong vertical updraft in the shape of a vortex reaching between 500 to 1000 m above ground level. Phase 2 of the campaign will target the high humidity levels during winter to provide moisture for the hygroscopic material within this vortex to trigger cloud formation.

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His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) and President of the Regional Association II (Asia), said: “In line with NCM’s commitment to leading efforts in tackling global water stress, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) continues to facilitate crucial support to its awardee projects to break new ground in rain enhancement research. Recognizing the importance of water as a precious resource to sustain life, the program has deployed all of its capabilities to drive new solutions to the global water security challenge through effective international collaboration. Such efforts are vital to close the gap between supply and de­mand, especially in water-stressed regions.”

For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “The technical and logistic support provided by UAEREP to Professor Abshaev’s test campaign articulates the program’s continued efforts to advance rain enhancement science through accelerating the development of new technologies. We congratulate Professor Abshaev and his team for successfully completing the first phase of his research campaign despite the challenges posed by the complexity of the mechanism to be tested, as well as the high altitude and unpredictable weather conditions in Jebel Jais Mountains. We are confident that his project will have far-reaching outcomes in enhancing precipitation in a more environmentally-friendly manner where it is most needed.”

Supported by UAEREP and carried out in collaboration with experts from NCM and several local and international research and academic organizations, the research project studies the possibility of stimulating the formation of cumulus clouds using aerosols streams released from a jet engine composite system. The study derives it theoretical basis from ash clouds from volcanic activity that can produce convective clouds leading to formation of cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds which could then lead to precipitation.

The project attempts to recreate this phenomenon of stimulating cloud formation using more sustainable methods and available technology. It examines the possibility of creating updrafts in the surface atmosphere to stimulate formation of clouds using local vertical jets and special eco-friendly aerosols.

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