Research program for enhancing rain in the Middle East

© Nasa

In efforts aimed at rain enhancement, the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, UAEREP, has selected Dr. Paul Lawson, its second cycle awardee, who will now take up an intensive series of research flights in order to collect data and take scientific measurements during the third quarter of 2018.

“Dr. Lawson’s research flights mark a major milestone in his highly innovative research project. Through our awardees’ projects, the NCM and the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science are continuing to develop global research networks and leading international scientific and technological innovation in rain enhancement,” said Dr. Abdullah Al Mandous, Director of the National Centre for Meteorology, NCM.

Dr. Lawson, participant to more than 50 international research projects related to weather modifcation systems, is the founder of SPEC Incorporated.

Through his research project, titled “Microphysics of Convective Clouds and the Effects of Hygroscopic Seeding,” Dr. Lawson aims to develop a new approach to increasing rainfall. His method leverages the ice production mechanism in cumulus clouds and by seeding them in the updrafts stage at cloud bases, he aims to increase the chances of coalesce frozen water in the cloud so as to cause rainfall.

Dr. Lawson’s research flights, set to takeoff from Al Ain Airport, involves customizing a Learjet with numerous sophisticated sensors such that they can gather data and take measurements during the flight.

“Regular meetings and reports enable us to provide support and pool our joint expertise to ensure that our awardees’ ground-breaking projects will have the maximum impact. The excellent progress already made by Dr. Lawson and his team confirms that the programme is already having a significant impact, in terms of supporting and enabling advanced research in the field,” said Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.

The research flights of Dr. Lawson and his research team are based on the NCM radar data which can provide optimal locations as well as the times of the day, when the missions are likely to be most successful.

The research team has already carried out extensive preparatory groundwork in the US, investigating and capturing numerous cumulus cloud related data, including range of cloud temperatures and drop size distributions.

Following the research flights, the data collected by Dr. Lawson and his team will undergo extensive analysis in the UAE.

Dr. Lawson has also had discussions, among other operational issues, pertaining to the projected flight path of the research aircraft with the Gulf Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA.