• Announcement made at press conference on final day of 4th International Rain Enhancement Forum
  • Call for entries for fourth cycle to open beginning of 2021
  • Hannele Korhonen and her research team develop comprehensive aerosol characterization dataset from PolyXT and Halo instruments
  • Giles Harrison and his research team study electrical aspects of rain generation
  • Paul Lawson and his research team identify types of cumulus clouds suitable for cloud seeding

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 21 January, 2020 – The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) today hosted a press conference at the closing of 4th International Rain Enhancement Forum (IREF).

Organized by UAEREP under the supervision of National Center of Meteorology (NCM), IREF ran in the UAE the capital Abu Dhabi from 19 to January 21.

At the conference, UAEREP unveiled the results of rain enhancement research projects carried out by the awardees of its second cycle grant including Dr. Paul Lawson, Senior Research Scientist at SPEC Incorporated, USA, Professor Hannele Korhonen, a research professor in climate modelling and the Director of the Climate Research Program at Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland, and Professor Giles Harrison, professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.

At the press conference, UAEREP also revealed that the call for innovative project proposals for the fourth cycle of the grant program will open beginning of 2021 and will target new research areas under the program’s new structure and evaluation criteria which will be announced later this year.


His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said: “Since its inception under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has come a long way in providing the global scientific community with an effective platform to galvanize international efforts towards leveraging rain enhancement science and technology to address global water security challenges in arid regions around the world.”

Al Mandous added: “The awardee projects supported by the Program have achieved important milestones in advancing rain enhancement science and cloud seeding operations as a viable alternative to augment rain and achieve global water security. In its upcoming cycle to be announced at the beginning of 2021, we look forward to receiving innovative project proposals that can bring about a transformational impact on rain enhancement science on a global level.”

Professor Hannele Korhonen, Prof. Maarten Ambaum, a research assistant to the second cycle awardee Professor Giles Harrison, and Dr. Roelof Bruintjes, research assistant to the second cycle awardee Dr. Paul Lawson presented the final results of their innovative research that help scale up the potential of rain enhancement and cloud seeding technologies in the UAE and beyond.

Through Professor Korhonen’s project titled ‘Optimization of Aerosol Seeding in rain enhancement Strategies (OASIS)’, Professor Korhonen and her research team developed a comprehensive aerosol characterization dataset from Lidar instruments (PolyXT and Halo) and CCN counter deployed in Al Dhaid, Sharjah. The field data is currently being used to simulate aerosol-cloud interactions and their rainfall enhancement effects during 12 identified weather events. Molecular-scale modeling of ice nucleation particles with optimized surface geometry is currently underway, and Professor Korhonen and her team are using an emulator to identify of most favorable cloud seeding conditions with the help of statistical Artificial Intelligence methods

This project will support cloud seeding operations through using the cloud-scale model to build a statistical emulator. In addition to precipitation enhancement, this technique will help determine the most suitable materials for rainfall formation and precipitation.

For his part, Professor Harrison and his project team worked on a project focusing on electrical aspects of rain generation through modelling the growth of charged drops to raindrops. In collaboration with the Khalifa University Center for Autonomous Robotic Systems (KUCARS), the team has identified sites for UAV campaign in 2020 that aim to understand cloud and fog formation over the UAE. The findings of the project will support cloud seeding operation based on electrical measurements of clouds as electrical seeding approach will help stimulate the rainfall.

Meanwhile, Dr. Lawson and his project team have worked on a project to identify cumulus clouds suitable for cloud seeding. They evaluated the use of hygroscopic seeding materials in cloud seeding operation and studied the natural secondary ice nucleation process.

This project provided a comprehensive and unique set of physical measurements of cloud properties at various stages over the UAE in both natural and post-seeding conditions. The measurements are combined with numerical modeling to assess the effects of hygroscopic seeding and its potential contribution to the formation of secondary ice crystal formation.

The results of this project will help determine the benefits of hygroscopic seeding and its role in developing cloud microphysics scheme through simulation in collaboration with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado.

For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), said: “The important findings of research works carried out by our second cycle awardees demonstrate the sheer amount of efforts devoted by the Program to lead innovation in rain enhancement and global water resource sustainability through harnessing latest technologies. We are confident that these projects will play an important role in establishing new scientific and technological foundations to address water scarcity in arid and semi-arid regions across the globe.”

She added: “We are pleased to announce the launch of the fourth cycle of UAEREP’s grant at the beginning of 2021, and welcome innovative project proposals that target new research areas in rain enhancement science. This will solidify the status and impact of the projects supported by the program and take rain enhancement research to new heights, while finding viable and sustainable solutions for global water stress based on scientific research.”

The International Rain Enhancement Forum, which concludes today, is a global platform that brings together policymakers, experts, researchers, scientists and stakeholders to tackle pressing water and sustainability issues and learn about the latest developments in this growing research area.