- Dr Abdulla Al Mandous: “Our site visits are an integral part of our provision of support and collaborative expertise to ensure that our awardees’ ground-breaking projects will have the maximum impact”
- Site visits evaluate innovative projects using a variety of scientific techniques to improve cloud seeding operations
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 13 November 2017: The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s Strategic Direction Committee has conducted site visits to assess the latest progress in two ground-breaking scientific projects led by internationally renowned German and Japanese researchers.
Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE, and managed by the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is an internationally-recognized initiative that offers an annual grant of US$ 5 million to be shared by up to five winning research proposals.
His Excellency Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of the NCM, said: “Our site visits are an integral part of our provision of support and collaborative expertise to ensure that our awardees’ ground-breaking projects will have the maximum impact as the UAE leads the way in building global networks and pooling expertise on rain enhancement. The Program is playing a key part in generating the new knowledge needed to aid vulnerable populations around the world.”
The Program’s Strategic Direction Committee is responsible for the technical, financial, and administrative monitoring of the Program awardees’ projects through progress reports and site visits to assist their successful completion within a three-year time scale. The Committee also provides strategic direction to ensure that the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science produces tangible benefits through advancing knowledge and building international networks.
In its visit to the Meteorological Research Institute in Tsubuka, Japan, the Committee assessed a project led by Professor Masataka Murakami aiming to enhance cloud seeding techniques through algorithm-based experiments on cloud and precipitation data gathered from remote sensors and in-situ aircraft measurements taken in the Al Ain region in the UAE.
One of the three awardees of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s First Cycle, Professor Murakami has acquired more than three decades of weather research expertise. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research at Nagoya University, a Scientist in the Cloud Physics section at Japan’s Meteorological Research Institute, and a member of the World Meteorological Organization Expert Team on Weather Modification.
Taking place over three days, the visit evaluated the progress made by Professor Murakami’s team through meetings with leading executives and academics from the Institute and associated organizations and a series of technical presentations. The work being carried out by the Japanese researchers promises to make a unique contribution to scientific study of the ‘seedability’ of clouds, the development of optimal seeding methods, and the evaluation of seeding processes outcomes.
Professor Murakami commented: “The practical support given by the Abu Dhabi leadership and the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has been of immense help in our effort to generate new insights and technologies that could have wider applications for countries suffering from water security issues, and we are very grateful for this.”
In its site visit to the University of Hohenheim in Germany this month, the Committee also evaluated a project led by Professor Volker Wulfmeyer designed to enhance cloud seeding through a study of convergence zones induced by complex atmospheric flows and their effect on the formation and location of clouds
Professor Wulfmeyer, another First Cycle awardee of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, is employing advanced remote sensing and land cover modification to improve the detection and forecasting of convergence zones and convection initiation, and examining possible linkages between land surface features and rainfall occurrence. The project’s aim is to combine a high-resolution forecast model with the UAE rain radar network’s data to improve forecasting and the potential effectiveness of cloud seeding operations.
The project has progressed significantly in recent months through the application of a data assimilation system along with the collection of surface, satellite, and radar data.
The Strategic Direction Committee assessed the progress made by Professor Wulfmeyer through a three-day program of presentations and discussions at the University of Hohenheim. The sessions featured productive input from all participants on the opportunities for the research agenda going forward as well as the progress achieved and the problems identified by the project to date.
An expert in high-resolution weather forecasting and regional climate simulations, land-atmosphere interaction, and 3D active remote sensing, Professor Wulfmeyer is Managing Director and Chair of Physics and Meteorology at the Institute of Physics and Meteorology of the University of Hohenheim.
Commenting on the visit, Professor Wulfmeyer said: “We have been delighted to welcome the Strategic Direction Committee to Hohenheim for a highly productive series of presentations and discussions. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has performed an invaluable function in enabling scientists and technologists to open up new horizons in this field through dedicated research support and building international research networks”.
Earlier in September, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s Strategic Direction Committee visited Masdar Institute to assess the positive outcomes recorded from the university’s First Cycle-wining cloud seeding research project. The novel cloud seeding research project led by Dr. Linda Zou, Professor of Environmental and Chemical Engineering at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, was awarded in January 2016. Her project explores the use of nanotechnology to engineer particles that can serve as nuclei for raindrop formation when used to seed clouds.
Providing continuous technical support, data, logistics, facilities and advice to all the awardees, the NCM oversees the Program’s role in global research and development. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s Secretariat manages and administers the delivery of each awardee’s project to meet an agreed timescale, provides strategic direction, and evaluates the progress of awards through regular reports and site visits. The work being undertaken by the Japanese and German teams also benefits from data and experimental insights shared with other awardees of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science. The Program’s other first cycle awardee is carrying out ground-breaking work on the use of nanotechnology to accelerate water condensation. Further projects led by Second Cycle awardees on ice production processes in cumulus clouds, quantifying atmospheric aerosols in precipitation enhancement, and analyzing the electrical properties of clouds, also started this year.
This year’s Third Cycle call for research proposals led to 201 submissions, representing 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions spread across 68 countries on five continents. The awardees of the Third Cycle of the Program will be honored at an exclusive ceremony in January 2018 in Abu Dhabi.