The UAE is collaborating with a team of leading meteorologists to develop a potentially ground-breaking technology in cloud seeding, to address the country’s water scarcity challenges.
The concept revolves around the ‘electrical seeding’ of clouds, a theoretical concept that studies the effect of electrical charges on rain-bearing clouds.
Discussions are ongoing between senior officials at the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), and Prof. Giles Harrison, who specializes in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Reading, and with Keri Nicoll, a NERC Independent Research Fellow at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading.
Harrison, who is also a Second Cycle awardee associated with the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, will lead the research.
The team is set to examine the electrical properties of clouds through a combination of theoretical and experimental work. As a first step, they will model the growth of charged drops to raindrops — even when the clouds are not charged — to the extent that leads to thunderstorms. Secondly, they will attempt to measure and modify the charges present in clouds using balloons and aircrafts.
An innovative aspect is the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to artificially modify the electrical properties of the clouds. A promising attribute of the electrical seeding approach is that it leaves no local environmental residues, as the UAVs are electrically powered and hence pollution-free.
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