Cloud seeding contributes to UAE's record rain in 2016

Three times more cloud seeding operations this year than in 2015 have contributed to the recent unusual weather, according to a meteorologist
By Staff writer
Sun 10 Apr 2016 11:08 AM

Cloud seeding operations over the UAE have caused much of the record-breaking rain this year, a meteorologist has told The National.

Seventy-seven seeding operations took place between January and the end of March - more than three times the number during the same period last year - National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology meteorologist and cloud seeding expert Sufian Farrah said.

While it was difficult to precisely determine how much effect the seeding had, Farrah said only clouds that were likely to produce rain had been targeted, increasing the chances of heavier rainfall.

“We covered most of the available clouds in the country, so the rainfall increased," he was quoted as saying.

“Even if we didn’t carry out any operations it would rain, but the objective of cloud seeding is rain enhancement, and most of the clouds that are subject to seeding will generate rain.”

Annual rainfall in the UAE rarely exceeds 120 millimetres, with the previous record for a 24-hour period being 178.9mm, recorded at Fujairah International Airport on December 11, 1995, The National reported.

That record was smashed on March 9 when 287 millimetres of rain fell in an area covering Dubai and Al Ain, the highest since records began in 1977.

Heavy winds also have caused havoc, forcing Abu Dhabi International Airport to close and causing damage to numerous buildings.

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