Sunday 24, April 2016

Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science conducted preliminary meetings with the winners of its first cycle in February and March 2016. Following the announcement of the winners at an awards ceremony in January, the meetings aimed to launch the implementation phase of the three winning projects through introducing the research team members to the program team and highlighting key requirements for the phase that will continue through the next three years.

The meetings were attended by Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, Omar Al Yazidi, Director of Research and Development and Training at the Abu Dhabi National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS), as well as several research team members at the NCMS headquarters. The sessions also drew the participation of the principal researchers, including Prof. Masataka Murakami from the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research at Nagoya University in Japan, Prof. Linda Zou from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi, Prof. Volker Wulfmeyer from the Institute of Physics and Meteorology at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany, as well as their participating researchers.
The three winning research projects focus on very promising scientific areas related to rain enhancement. For example, Prof. Masataka Murakami’s research deals with precipitation enhancement in arid and semi-arid regions, in addition to innovative algorithms and sensors dedicated to identifying the clouds most suitable for seeding. Prof. Linda Zou’s project utilizes nanotechnology to accelerate water condensation, and also intends to improve the effectiveness of technologies used to increase rain through engineering unique nanostructured properties of cloud seeding materials to help water vapor condense. In addition, Prof. Volker Wulfmeyer’s project attempts to optimize cloud seeding by advanced remote sensing and land cover modification.

Commenting on the preliminary meetings, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “We are very pleased to reach this milestone phase of the program during which the promising research projects – that have won the grant of US$ 5 million to be spread over a three-year period – will be implemented. We look forward to working with the three research teams and supporting all their requirements within the framework of our agreement. We also wish them ultimate success in their efforts to ensure water security for arid and semi-arid regions.”

The meetings commenced on February 7, 2016 – hosting Prof. Linda Zou and her research team at NCMS. This was followed by UAEREP’s visit to Masdar Institute of Science and Technology on March 13 during which Professor Zou led the program delegation on a guided tour of some of the advanced labs and research facilities at the Institute.

The program delegation also met with Prof. Volker Wulfmeyer and members of his research team at NCMS from March 14-16 March. A video conference call was conducted with Prof. Masataka Murakami on February 29, to be followed by a visit by him and his team members to NCMS on May 8, 2016.

Speaking on these meetings, Prof. Masataka Murakami said: “The premise of our project is based on the achievements of our previous research projects on rain enhancement carried out in Japan. Through the results we are able to achieve via the Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, we intend to contribute to rain enhancement efforts in the UAE and other arid and semi‐arid regions around the world. The substantial and long-term support extended by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is vital to the success of our research project.”

For her part, Prof. Linda Zou said: “This project will be the first to develop cloud seeding materials through the use of nanotechnology. We are working to engineer cloud seeding materials with optimal properties to ensure that condensation will occur effectively and maximize the rainfall achieved. Different strategies will be employed to investigate the underlining mechanisms of cloud nucleation and condensation. We will incorporate the information of surface physical and chemical properties, size, dimension and the crystalline nature of particles into developing novel cloud seeding materials. Our goal is to ensure that the knowledge gained through our research project leads to consistent and enduring results. We are truly grateful to the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science in helping us carry out the research that has the potential to augment rainfall for wider public benefit.”

Prof. Volker Wulfmeyer said: “Our project will contribute significantly to the understanding of clouds and precipitation in the parched regions of the earth. We hope to realize this ambition through new observations of wind and cloud fields starting as early as 2017 and the application of an advanced high-resolution forecast model with a resolution of 100 m. Our project also offers strong capacity building and knowledge transfer components to increase the interest in water management issues.”

The second cycle of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science complements the huge success of its first cycle that was launched at the beginning of 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. The program is managed by the National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS) in Abu Dhabi.