Cloud seeding likely to increase ahead of Dubai’s Expo 2020
Cloud seeding activity in the UAE has been on the increase, as the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) takes successful steps towards safeguarding the country’s access to water. According to Arabian Business cloud seeding efforts are set to further increase leading up to 2020, after officials have confirmed that rainwater will be one of the supplies for the Expo 2020 site.
Ahmed Al Khatib, vice president of property, Expo 2020 Dubai, said that rainwater will be one of the water supplies used for the 438-hectare site, along with recycled grey water and underground water.
“We are hoping [to increase cloud seeding operations] and we are working with authorities on the matter,” he said. “We are harvesting water from humidity that we will use for irrigation. But now we are in discussions with authorities to have that water treated to a level that it can be drinkable.”
Cloud seeding is a way to alter the microphysical process within clouds, changing the amount and type on precipitation. In simple terms that means that clouds which may not necessarily have caused wet weather are altered to create rainfall. It’s usually done by flying a small plane which disperses flares as it flies through the inflow of a cloud.
It’s an area that the UAE are researching, and the Masdar Institute has filed a patent in the USA to use innovative cloud seeding material.
Masdar Institute Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Linda Zou, is the principal investigator of this research project, and one of the first scientists in the world to explore the use of nanotechnology to enhance a cloud seeding material’s ability to produce rain.
“Using nanotechnology to accelerate water droplet formation on a typical cloud seeding material has never been researched before. It is a new approach that could revolutionize the development of cloud seeding materials and make them significantly more efficient and effective,” Dr. Zou said.
A statement on the Institute’s website explains how important cloud seeding can be to water security: “It also signifies a milestone towards achieving greater water security in the UAE, as rainfall enhancement via cloud seeding can potentially increase rainfall between 10% to 30%, helping to refresh groundwater reserves, boost agricultural production, and reduce the country’s heavy reliance on freshwater produced by energy-intensive seawater desalination.”