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More rain likely in UAE as cloud seeding continues

More rain likely in UAE as cloud seeding continues
More rain likely in UAE as cloud seeding continues

Five cloud seeding operations have been carried out in the last 48 hours.

The heavy rainfall all across UAE is because of the increase in the number of cloud seeding operations that have taken place in the past 48 hours, and residents can expect more rain as these operations are ongoing.

Khalid Al Obeidii, the head of the cloud seeding operations at the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), told Khaleej Times that five operations have been carried out in the past 48 hours. More are taking place as clouds have been spotted over Al Ain and the Arabian Gulf.

Heavy rainfall lashed the country, with videos circulating on social media of debris flying around, water entering sections of the Dubai Mall, major traffic jams and waterlogged roads.

The UAE has been carrying out cloud seeding operations for more than a decade. It involves flying an aircraft to a cloud that has little rain droplets already present. The aircraft shoots salt flares into the cloud to enhance rainfall.

"Clouds have two air masses - one is up draft and one is down draft. We target the up draft because when we burn the salt particle it's going to be sucked and mixed with the rain droplets in the clouds, it'll attach to the rain drop and increase in size," Al Obeidii said.

"Our plans is to keep going with cloud seeding because there are clouds in and around it. There are clouds over the Arabian Gulf and moving over the ocean. Our target is always to increase the amount of rain falling by 15 to 25 per cent."

He also revealed that the UAE has been using a ground weather modification system since last year, which involves placing a ground generator on top of mountains to shoot salt flares up to the clouds.

"So, there is a ground generator over mountains, for example in Hafeet and over Fujairah area. We burn the flares from the ground, so the air mass goes in the upward motion and it reaches the cloud. We also use flares made in the UAE, called Ghaith. We started using it last year," he said.

Since the beginning of 2019, NCM has carried out about 181 cloud seeding flights.

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