During the announcement of the awards at UAE Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai today. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Two new programmes that will enhance rain and promote water sustainability in the UAE were given grants during the Fourth Cycle Awards of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) at the UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai today.

The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science supervises research grants offered to projects that contribute to the “development of innovative solutions in rain enhancement research”. In its fourth cycle, the programme received a total of 81 submissions presented by 378 scientists and researchers affiliated with 159 institutions across 37 countries in five continents. The programme offers a grant of $1.5 million (Dh5.51 million) distributed over three years for each of the research proposals in rain enhancement, with a maximum of $550,000 each year.

Dr Bradley Baker, principal investigator at SPEC Inc, a company involved in instrument development and atmospheric research, received the grant for his research proposal titled ‘Enhancing Precipitation in the UAE Using Hygroscopic Nano-materials.

The second awardee was Dr Luca Delle Monache, deputy director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E) at University of California, San Diego. He was awarded for his research work titled ‘A Hybrid Machine Learning Framework for Enhanced Precipitation Nowcasting’.

Enhancing water security

The UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science is an initiative by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, under the management of the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).

The programme tackles water security challenges by advancing the science of rain enhancement through research and development. It is also aimed at expanding global water security by promoting scientific best practices and collaboration in rain enhancement research that will enhance precipitation and increase rainfall in the UAE and beyond.

Speaking on behalf of Sheikh Mansour, Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of NCM’s Board of Trustees, said during the awarding ceremony: “The UAE continues its sustained support for the scientific community in its efforts to promote water sustainability and find scientific solutions. Water scarcity has become a major global challenge that demands collective efforts and swift action to develop practical solutions to bolster water security worldwide.”

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He added: “Since its inception, the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science has played a crucial role in finding new solutions and ideas to tackle the scarcity of water resources and low rainfall rates.”

Currently, the UAE has more than 60 networked weather stations, a weather radar network and six aircraft for cloud-seeding operations.