Launches First Flight Campaign in the UAE
- Innovative field project led by Professor Masataka Murakami with the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) investigates cloud and precipitation characteristics over the eastern mountain terrains of the UAE
- The Japanese team is providing its research aircraft to take measurements and make available its operational C-band radar and X-band facilities for additional data gathering
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 25 September 2017: The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has announced the launch of a flight campaign by Japanese researchers to assess the micro physical and chemical properties of the clouds in addition to the potential for cloud seeding in the UAE. The team is currently conducting field studies in the Al Ain region using an aircraft that traveled 12,000 kilometers over Asia and the Middle East from Nagoya to Al Ain.
Led by Professor Masataka Murakami, one of the Program’s First Cycle awardees, the Japanese team is collaborating closely with scientists from the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), which manages the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science. The project is currently analyzing the microphysical and chemical structures of clouds suitable for seeding and their occurrence frequency over the eastern mountain areas of the UAE, and investigate seeding effects through laboratory tests, aerial and ground-based measurements.
His Excellency Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of NCM, said: “We are delighted to facilitate and support Professor Murakami’s innovative work. By collaborating and facilitating the availability of extensive resources, NCM is making every effort to ensure the successful completion of all six projects currently being carried out by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s awardees. In doing so, we are seeking to advance the scientific community’s understanding of rain enhancement and ultimately aiding the common international quest for water security.”
Consisting of 20 experienced scientists and an aircraft crew and support staff, Professor Murakami’s team has already been carrying out the geophysical mapping of seedable clouds in the UAE by utilizing the comprehensive local meteorological data compiled by NCM scientists. Building on this knowledge, the Japanese team has gathered additional information on vertical profiles of local temperature, humidity, cloud water and precipitation particles from ground-based measuring equipment including microwave radiometer and Doppler radar. The team is now deploying its own custom-designed aircraft fitted out with advanced scientific instruments to carry out further experiments based on the previous field work. The aircraft carries out daily flights to assess the properties of local clouds, the effect of seeding materials injected into the clouds and the changes in rain precipitation levels that may result.
The flight campaign is taking advantage of the more stable meteorological conditions prevalent in the summer season compared to the more changeable weather of the winter season. NCM is actively collaborating in this effort by providing one of its Beechcraft King Air C90 aircrafts to take measurements. After the NCM aircraft disperses hydroscopic seeding particles into suitable clouds, the Japanese aircraft measures the effectiveness of the particles.
Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “Professor Murakami’s highly promising field project could do much to enhance our knowledge of local weather patterns and rainfall potential in the target region. The close coordination between the Japanese and NCM teams is a good example of the international collaboration that is essential to the opening of new horizons in the science and technology of rain enhancement. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is thus demonstrating its continuing outstanding success at a global level in bringing together leading experts in this important research field.”
The joint work being carried out by the Japanese researchers and the NCM promises to make a uniquely innovative contribution to scientific study of the ‘seedability’ of clouds, the development of optimal seeding methods and the evaluation of seeding effects. The researchers are confident that the results gathered in the field will validate advanced modelling techniques developed in laboratory experiments to enhance knowledge of seeding processes and their outcomes.
Professor Murakami said: “Our project to better evaluate and ultimately improve the effectiveness of rain enhancement in the UAE and arid regions and beyond is built on the achievements of our previous research work carried out in Japan over several years. We are very grateful for the effective and practical support given by the Abu Dhabi leadership and the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science. I am confident that the advancement of weather science and technologies that we are working on in collaboration with NCM and other international partners will improve cloud seeding efficiency and contribute to secure water resources.”
A renowned weather expert with more than three decades of research experience, Professor Murakami is a Professor at the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research at Nagoya University, a Visiting Scientist in the Cloud Physics section at Japan’s Meteorological Research Institute, a member of the World Meteorological Organization Expert Team on Weather Modification, and Chairman of the American Meteorology Society Committee on Planned and Inadvertent Weather Modification.
The work being undertaken by the Japanese team also benefits from data and experimental insights shared with other awardees of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science. The Program’s other two first cycle awardees are carrying out ground-breaking work on the use of nanotechnology to accelerate water condensation, and the potential for land cover modification to enhance precipitation. Further awarded projects on ice formation in cumulus clouds, atmospheric aerosols in precipitation enhancement, and the electrical properties of clouds also recently commenced.
Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE in early 2015, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is an internationally-recognized initiative that offers a grant of US$ 5 million to be shared by up to five winning research proposals.
Providing continuous technical support, data, logistics, facilities and advice to Professor Murakami’s team and other awarded projects, NCM oversees the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s role in global research and development. The Program’s Secretariat manages the delivery of each awarded project to meet an agreed timescale, provides strategic direction, and evaluates the progress of awards through regular reports and site visits.
Reflecting the Program’s outstanding success to date, this year’s Third Cycle call for research proposals led to 201 pre-proposal submissions being received, representing 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions spread across 68 countries on five continents.