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The National Center of Meteorology announces on Wednesday targeted research areas for the UAE Rain Enhancement Program’s fourth cycle Projects. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: UAE scientists will focus on new areas of research on rain enhancement, including using artificial intelligence in weather forecasting, to improve the country’s ability to address water-stress issues, it was announced on Wednesday.

The updated research areas include advances in weather modelling and forecasting using artificial intelligence and ensemble modelling; evaluation of rain enhancement effectiveness through the use of cloud chamber and use of randomised inputs in statistical methods; innovations in rain enhancement systems through the use of new measurement and numerical tools; and testing and leveraging several rain enhancement models.

Financial grant

Meanwhile, the programme will continue to support previous areas of research, locally and globally, to help the awardees fulfil the aims of their projects. Information about on-going projects funded by the programme and their research areas can be found on the programme’s website. Launched in 2015, the ‘UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science’ supports innovative research and technology proposals that advance this field, particularly in arid regions. The programme offers each winning research proposal a grant of up to $1.5 million (around Dh5.51 million) distributed over three years, with a maximum annual amount of $550,000 (around Dh2.02 million).

Managed by National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), the programme aims to promote understanding of rain enhancement and further the development of related technologies. On Wednesday, the NCM announced the targeted research areas for the programme’s future projects, in preparation for the official opening of the UAE Rain Enhancement Programme’s (UAEREP) fourth cycle for proposal submission in early 2021.

‘Next level of impact’

Identified by a team of prominent international experts and scientists in atmospheric research and technologies, the updated research areas complement the existing ones and build on the programme’s previous work.

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, director of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of World Meteorological Organisation, said: “In announcing the programme’s updated targeted research areas, we are taking an important step in pushing forward the rain enhancement research to the next level of impact and sophistication. One important aspect of the new solicitation document will be its emphasis on the development and deployment of innovative technologies to foster future research in this emerging field. This focus will improve our ability to address water-stress issues more effectively in line with the aspirations of our leadership, while enhancing the UAE’s position as a global hub for rain enhancement.”

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous

Dr Abdulla Al Mandous

New researchers

Al Mandous added: “Given the profound impact of innovation on scientific research, UAEREP aims to attract new researchers, technologists and entrepreneurs to further develop local and global capacity in this field. While doing so, we seek to bring new perspectives to rain enhancement research and support the development of demand-driven solutions that can address the most pressing water-security challenges in the years to come.”

Alya Al Mazroui, director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “The research areas identified by our international experts and scientists create unexplored avenues for generating new knowledge and innovation in rain enhancement science, while also building on the results and expertise gained over the program’s nine awarded projects between 2015 and 2017. This will help us direct our future research efforts towards areas with broader implications for arid regions to address their most pressing water security challenges.”