WMO Secretary General delivers opening speech of IREF’s key session

  • Science of cloud formation and rainfall in Arabian Gulf, innovations in rainfall enhancement and evaluation of impacts of rain enhancement efforts key highlights of discussions on second day

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 26 January, 2021 – The second and final day of the fifth International Rain Enhancement Forum (IREF), held virtually under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, debated key issues affecting water security and sustainability worldwide.

Hosted by the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) through the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), the event featured several expert-led sessions that examined a broad range of topics such as science of cloud formation and rainfall in the Arabian Gulf, innovations in rainfall enhancement and evaluation of impacts of rain enhancement efforts.

Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), delivered the keynote speech of the session titled ‘Evaluation of Impacts of Rain Enhancement Efforts’.

Addressing the session, Professor Petteri Taalas said: “The rain enhancement program carried out by the UAE over the past years has enhanced our scientific on potential for rain enhancement. Water shortage is becoming more and more severe and is endangering prosperity of sectors key to the survival of human life, especially in less developed countries that rely on agriculture for the survival of broad segments of population. We are grateful to the UAE for its pioneering rain enhancement program that has carried out many significant scientific studies. Climate mitigation and implementation of the Paris Agreement are essential, but also adaptation is critical since the negative trend in climate will continue until 2060’s at least. Investments in early warning services and climate science are powerful ways to adapt to the growing amount of disasters including drought. WMO is happy to collaborate with UAE in those areas.”

For his part, His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) and President of the Regional Association II (Asia): “The fifth International Rain Enhancement Forum has facilitated constructive discussions on a wide array of issues that will shape the future of rain enhancement science and weather modification research. The wide and high-level participation of scientists and experts from top international academic and research organizations validates the Forum’s growing status as a definitive platform to discuss the latest studies and projects and step up international efforts to address water stress. It also reiterates IREF’s important role in uniting efforts and fostering collaboration among the research community to ensure reliable and sustainable access to water for the world’s entire population.”

For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), said: “In hosting IREF, UAEREP seeks to foster international collaboration in rain enhancement research which is key to ensuring global water security. Since its inception, the Forum has provided local and international experts and scientists with an ideal platform to explore the latest innovations and technologies that help address water security and protect the world’s precious freshwater resources. In announcing the program’s fourth cycle and start receiving research proposals, we reiterate the program’s continued contribution to the advancement of rain enhancement science, while attracting more research funding and promoting collaborative research to increase precipitation levels – locally, regionally and globally.”

The first session on day two discussed ‘The Science of Cloud Formation and Rainfall in the Arabian Gulf” and included presentations on studies conducted to understand the processes in which clouds form in the atmosphere, and the conditions leading then to rainfall in the Arabian Gulf region. The session covered several topics such as convection formation and the creation of artificial updrafts, the dynamical and microphysical processes by which precipitation forms and evolves within clouds, and in situ measurements of cloud and aerosol microphysical properties in summertime convective clouds.

The session was addressed by Prof. Ali Abshaev, UAEREP’s 3rd cycle awardee and Senior Researcher at the Hail Suppression Research Center in Russia, Dr. Lulin Xue, UAEREP’s 3rd cycle awardee and the Chief Scientist at Hua Xin Chuang Zhi Science and Technology LLC and Masataka Murakami, UAEREP’s 1st cycle awardee and a professor at Nagoya University, Japan.

Titled ‘Innovations in Rainfall Enhancement: Methodologies and New Insights’, the second session featured presentations on innovative research and advancements in materials and methods applicable to rain enhancement. It examined a host of topics including the application of nanotechnology for developing novel cloud seeding materials, the study of the effects of electrical charges on cloud droplet formation, algorithms for determining suitable cloud seeding conditions, and the integration of multiple modeling efforts and novel data to create a unified weather forecasting model.

The session drew the participation of Prof. Maarten Ambaum, Professor of Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics at Department of Meteorology in University of Reading, and a research assistant to UAEREP’s 2nd cycle awardee Professor Giles Harriso, Dr. Linda Zou, Khalifa University and UAEREP’s 1st cycle awardee, Dr. Diana Francis, Senior Scientist, ENGEOS Lab Head at Khalifa University, and Dr. Ricardo Fonseca, Research Scientist at Khalifa University.

Opened by Professor Petteri Taalas, Secretary General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the third session focused on evaluation of impacts of rain enhancement efforts and discussed various methods and techniques being deployed to evaluate the results of cloud seeding operations. The session covered relevant topics such as the importance of evaluation, evaluation methodologies, and performance evaluation of numerical models and practical tests.

The session was addressed by Prof. Hannele Korhonen, Director of Climate Research Programme at the Finnish Meteorological Institute and UAEREPs 2nd cycle awardee, Dr. Paul Lawson, Senior Scientist at Spec Incorporated and UAEREP’s 2nd cycle awardee, and Dr. Sarah Tessendorf, Project Scientist in the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

Hosted by the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, IREF serves as a global platform to bring together leading international and national experts, researchers, scientists and stakeholders to tackle pressing water and sustainability issues worldwide.