UAE awards another $5mn grant for research on rain enhancement

UAE awards another $5mn grant for research on rain enhancement
Published: 18 January 2018 - 2:23 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Three researchers from the USA, China and Russia, respectively have been named as awardees of the $5mn grant offered by the UAE rain enhancement programme.

The move is part of the UAE’s broader efforts to lead global research and scientific enquiry through innovative program designed to boost water security globally

The grant was awarded on the three researchers on Wednesday by Ahmed Juma Al Zaabi, UAE’s deputy minister of presidential affairs and chairman of the board of trustees at the National Centre of Meteorology.

Reflecting on the impact of the programme, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs said: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science demonstrates our leadership in strengthening global water security and devising the innovative solutions needed to aid people around the world at risk of water stress.

“Through this bold and ambitious initiative, we are also fulfilling the equally important goal of developing the capacities of the UAE’s knowledge economy while encouraging and supporting productive international research collaboration.”

With the growing population placing more pressure on limited water sources, the UAE is playing a dynamic and imaginative role in advancing the science and technology needed to ensure water for all in need.”

The immediate aim of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is to increase the UAE’s rainfall and boost freshwater supply and at the same time generate results that could have wider applications for countries that might benefit from advances in rain augmentation technology.

Studies show that cloud seeding can increase the amount of rain by between five and 70%, depending on the quality of the clouds. An analysis conducted by the National Centre of Meteorology (NCMS) in 2010 points out that rain triggered through cloud seeding is much cheaper than desalinated water.

Government officials say that the UAE is devoted in its efforts to find innovative and sustainable solutions to address the issue of water security in collaboration with top scientists, researchers and leading institutions in this vital domain.

They said that the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has succeeded in building bridges of collaboration with major research institutions, and attracting leading scientists to share their ideas, research, innovations and knowledge, allowing for new and viable solutions to the challenge of global water scarcity.

“Within a short time, this pioneering initiative has demonstrated its significance in providing innovative solutions to address global water security issues,” said Al Zaabi.

“We hope that by combining our efforts, we will turn the outstanding ideas presented within this program from across the world into successful projects that benefit us all.”

The 2017’s third cycle call for research proposals led to the submission of 201 pre-proposals involving the input of 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions spread across 68 countries.

The awardees of the third cycle were selected following international best practice through assessment by expert reviewers who evaluated all proposals, according to very strict criteria and complete confidentiality.

At the Final Evaluation Meeting in October 2017, a 10-member committee, supported by 16 anonymous ad-hoc expert reviewers, selected this year’s final awardees based on confidential reports on each research proposal.

The three awarded scientists leading the research teams that will share the cycle’s grant of $5mn are:

•             Professor Eric Frew, of the University of Colorado, for his project dealing with targeted observation and seeding using autonomous unmanned aircraft systems.

•             Dr Lulin Xue, of the Hua Xin Chuang Zhi Science and Technology LLC in China, for a project entitled “Using Advanced Experimental - Numerical Approaches to Untangle Rain Enhancement (UAE-NATURE)”.

•             And Dr Ali Abshaev, of the Hail Suppression Research Centre in Russia, for a project examining the creation of updrafts for the formation of artificial clouds and rainfall. 

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