April 20, 2024

UAE Researchers Are Experimenting With Drones To Aid Cloud-Seeding in the UAE

Cloud-Seeding operations

Cloud-Seeding operations

Last Updated on November 9, 2023 by newseditor

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) normally uses piloted planes to seed clouds. However, a recent study found that drones could help to increase the program’s efficiency by delivering seeding material to clouds at the proper time and position in difficult circumstances.

It demonstrates how unpiloted aircraft can be used to locate productive rain-inducing locations within clouds for seeding, which enables more targeted operations. Similar techniques for cloud seeding have been around for years. However, according to CNN and the Desert Research Institute, the procedure often involves salt flares. It has raised questions about cost, effectiveness, and the environment.

The study was published in Atmospheric Research and described a three-week field test in the US in 2021. After many generations of heatwaves and harsh climates, the United Arabs Emirates is experimenting with a novel technology that uses electricity to zap clouds to induce rain.

Do you want to learn how drone technology can aid the UAE’s quest to improve water supply in the country through cloud-seeding operations? Find out more below!

Understanding How Drone Technology Can Impact Cloud-Seeding in the UAE

Cloud-seeding is an intricate technique that involves launching salt flares or other tiny items into clouds to increase the amount of rain. Research is being conducted to determine its effectiveness and how much if any, more rainfall is produced due to a seeding mission.

There have been successful cloud-seeding operations in countries like the US, Thailand, India, and China. For instance, a 10-year cloud seeding project in Wyoming increased the snowpack by 5% to 10%. According to the website of the National Centre of Meteorology NCM, the UAE was one of the first nations in the Arab Gulf to employ cloud-seeding technology.

The NCM funded this study as part of a project to examine drone seeding under the direction of Prof. Eric Frew, who 2018 earned a UAE grant for his efforts on drones and cloud seeding research. It is an effort to show that using UAS to locate areas that can be improved for precipitation through cloud seeding is feasible.

Additionally, the study found that detecting and using sub-cloud properties in real-time to deliver the seeding material at the right time and position within the recognized cloud is a critical difficulty when trying to increase the effectiveness of cloud seeding using the existing standard practice.

In August 2021, the team ran a three-week field campaign in the US Great Plains to show and validate the implementation of the Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and autonomous system.

To ensure that all system components were operating properly and communicating, they first employed a single-aircraft CONOPS. After successfully completing the single-aircraft CONOPS, a tandem cloud measuring and seeding maneuver CONOPS was launched.

The study also stated that the possibility for increased targeting effectiveness and, thus, better results with more substantial confidence in the seeding impact is another advantage compared to the existing common practice. Meanwhile, the NCM reported that the unmanned systems technology transfer was finished in the year’s first quarter.

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