Team shortlist10 Apr 2016 AT 02:10 PM

Cloud seeding may have contributed to record rain in UAE

It's been a wet winter
Team shortlist10 Apr 2016 AT 02:10 PM
Cloud seeding may have contributed to record rain in UAE

Wondered why it rained so much this winter? Well, we’ve shared a few updates from the National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS) showing small planes seeding above the clouds, and it appears that this may have contributed to the record amount of rain so far this year.

According to Arabian Business, seventy seven seeding operations took place between January and the end of March - more than three times the number during the same period last year.

The paper quoted the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology meteorologist and cloud seeding expert Sufian Farrah.

“We covered most of the available clouds in the country, so the rainfall increased. Even if we didn’t carry out any operations it would rain, but the objective of cloud seeding is rain enhancement, and most of the clouds that are subject to seeding will generate rain,” he is quoted saying.

Although the process of cloud seeding doesn’t necessarily make it rain, it does increase the amount of rain that falls. This is a practice that’s carried out in many parts of the world, and it’s not new to the UAE. The country has been using the process in some form from the late 90s, and began a scientific programme in 2001.

Clouds are “injected” with salt crystals in order to create more rain and increase water supplies. This is done by small planes which fly above the clouds as part of the NCMS cloud seeding programme.

On March 9 this year, 287 millimeters of rain fell around Dubai and Al Ain, which is the most since records began back in 1977. In most years, the total for an entire 12 months is rarely more than 120 millimeters.

It’s not known how much of this downpour was due to cloud seeding. It is important to note, however, that this process only increases the amount of rain – it doesn’t directly change the weather. So the recent storms would have hit the country with or without the programme.

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