Heavy rain, thunder, and lightning in Dubai on Friday.
Heavy rain, thunder, and lightning in Dubai on Friday, November 17 Image Credit: Arjun Sasi/Gulf News reader

Dubai: The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) has revealed why and how much it rained in Dubai on Friday.

Responding to questions from Gulf News, a senior official from NCM on Monday explained that the heavy downpour on Friday was caused by convective clouds that formed in the northern and eastern parts of the country, which were enhanced by cloud seeding.

“We expected this rainfall of different intensity especially in the northern and eastern parts of the county that day due to convective cloud formation over the sea moving gradually towards coastal areas, starting from Dubai to Sharjah, Ajman and so on,” said Dr Abdul Habib, a weather expert from NMC.

The country was affected by a surface low-pressure system from the Red Sea with an extension of an upper air trough accompanied by a jet stream from the West and cold air mass with clouds flowing from the west accompanied by convective clouds over scattered areas associated with rainfall, according to the NCM.

Cloud seeding for water security

Dr Habib said the NCM enhanced the convective clouds with its cloud seeding operation.

Pointing out that the NCM’s mission is to maximise the rainfall in the country, he said: “Water is life. Hence, we are helping to increase the amount of rainfall in the UAE. When we increase rainfall, we are recharging the underground water resources and increasing the amount of rainwater on the surface. It is good for agriculture and livestock. We are addressing water security.”

Convective clouds, which look like cotton balls piled on top of each other, carry rain. NMC monitors them for the amount of moisture they carry and conducts cloud seeding for better rainfall.

“When you have clouds and it is not raining as you don’t have the conditions required to form droplets, we help to increase the chances of rain with cloud seeding,” said Dr Habib.

“We cannot create rain without clouds. Convective clouds are the best for cloud seeding. We can only enhance clouds and increase the amount of rainfall with cloud seeding in those clouds.”

He said adequate warnings are always issued to authorities concerned and the public so that precautionary measures can be taken against any adverse impact of heavy rains.

“We issue a lot of alerts and warnings, especially regarding heavy rainfall and poor visibility,” the expert added.

Highest rainfall

On Friday, he said the weather station in Expo City Dubai recorded the highest rainfall at 65.88mm.

However, it was not the highest rainfall recorded in a day in the country. “We have had more rainfalls per day on many other days,” he said.

According to the NCM, the top highest amount of rainfall recorded in one day was on November 21, 2013. The following areas recorded the highest rainfall on that day: Khatam Al Shaklah: 125.8mm; Dalma Island: 113mm; and Al Ruwais: 73.4mm.

Recent campaign

Earlier, in October, NCM concluded a field campaign titled ‘Cloud-Aerosol-Electrical Interactions for Rainfall Enhancement Experiment (CLOUDIX)’ through the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) in collaboration with Stratton Park Engineering Company (SPEC), a US-based company specialising in cloud physics research and instrumentation.

The month-long campaign encompassed a series of meticulously coordinated flight missions across the UAE airspace. The research was conducted using NCM’s King Air cloud seeding aircraft and an instrumented research Learjet aircraft operated by SPEC.

The data obtained from CLOUDIX were then analysed in greater detail by the scientists at SPEC.