- Alya Al Mazroui, Manager of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement: “Our meetings demonstrated that our Program has helped position the UAE as an international hub for the next generation science and technology needed to ensure our common water security”
- Dr Lawson, founder, SPEC Incorporated: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is playing a major role in catalyzing the growth of the international networks needed to identify new frontiers in weather research”
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 8 June, 2017: The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has hosted a series of high level meetings with leading researchers and influential policymakers to better tackle water security challenges.
Reflecting its growing international status as a rain enhancement leader, the program visited the US to strengthen its links with key US experts and institutions in the country, a consistent number one contributor in terms of research projects submitted to the program each year. In 2017, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science more than doubled the number of projects received from the United States, with 36 pre-proposals, compared to 16 in 2016.
Alya Al Mazroui, Manager of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “Our visit to our research colleagues in Washington and Boulder has given us an excellent opportunity to consolidate our already strong links with the weather research and forecasting innovation community in the United States. Our meetings demonstrated that our program is both inspiring innovative research and helping position the UAE as an international hub for the next generation science and technology needed to ensure our common water security.”
The program team’s visit to Washington DC involved a series of productive meetings and discussions first with IBM, the World Bank, the National Academy of Sciences and NASA, and then with influential policymakers, notably from the US Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Together, they exchanged though-provoking ideas and perspectives to add value to the field, and intensify scientific collaborations, and solidify their links with institutional partners.
In Boulder, Colorado, the team met with its Second Cycle awardee, Dr Paul Lawson, who founded SPEC Incorporated in 1979 to manufacture state-of-the-art airborne cloud physics instruments. Dr Lawson is a renowned participant in over 50 international research projects related to weather modification. Dr Lawson’s project for the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science will investigate a new approach to rain enhancement that leverages ice production processes in cumulus clouds. Employing sophisticated instrumented aircraft and radar technology, the project will study this process in cumulus clouds in the UAE with the aim of evaluating the potential for rain enhancement.
Dr Lawson said: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is playing a major role in catalyzing the growth of the international networks needed to identify new frontiers in weather research. I am very grateful for the program team’s visit and have benefitted from their ideas on how we could take my project forward. I am confident that a better understanding of how we might manipulate the ice production process in clouds could enhance the range of techniques we already have at our disposal to boost rainfall.”
Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE in early 2015 and managed by the UAE National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has already attained a leading position in the common quest to address water security challenges through effective international cooperation. Offering a grant of US$5 million to be shared by up to five winning research proposals, the program has already generated extensive interest among leading scientists and technologists around the world.
Aside from Dr Lawson’s ground-breaking work, other projects starting this year led by the program’s second cycle awardees are investigating the role of atmospheric aerosols in precipitation enhancement and the potential for modifying the electrical properties of clouds. The first cycle’s awardees have already made significant progress through their work on innovative algorithms to enhance knowledge of cloud characteristics, the use of nanotechnology to accelerate water condensation, and on the analysis of land cover modification on local precipitation patterns.
Reflecting the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s outstanding success in building its international profile, this year’s third cycle call for research proposals led to 201 submissions being received: these pre-proposals represented 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions across a truly global spread of 68 countries on five continents.
The success of the program so far confirms the status of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as pioneers in this scientific field. By serving as a hub for an internationally recognized research network, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is facilitating active knowledge transfers needed to ensure sustainable development and economic growth in those regions of the world vulnerable to aridity and water shortages.