An Emirati-British study reveals a new way to increase rain by “changing the behavior of water droplets.”

A recent research study conducted by the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, with the support of the National Center of Meteorology, through the Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, revealed that the release of electrical charges in fog can help change the behavior of water droplets, which in turn increases the chances of precipitation. .

The scientific experiments of the research study, which comes as part of the research project awarded by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Sciences in its second session, led by Giles Harrison, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Reading, showed for the first time that the release of shipments in the fog led to noticeable changes in the size and number of fog droplets. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Letters.

This study comes at a time when about 2.3 billion people live in countries that suffer from water stress according to the United Nations, which makes research on the characteristics of clouds and their impact on precipitation useful to avoid conflict over water, and reduce the use of technologies that consume large amounts of energy in the process desalination of sea water, as well as ensuring an adequate supply of water for all the world's population.

These experiments are a continuation of the results of previous research that was carried out using a supercomputer to simulate how electric charges affect the formation of raindrops, by stimulating the growth of water droplets, and their results were presented in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

Giles Harrison, Martin Embumbaum and Keri Nicholl from the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading were awarded a second cycle UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science Program grant of $1.5 million in 2017 for their research project on “Electrical Concepts for Stimulating Precipitation”.

Professor Giles Harrison, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Reading, said: "We are delighted with our important findings after five years of research and study on how droplets are affected by electric charges, which includes field measurements, computer simulations and the development of new technology."

He added, "It is very fruitful to work with elite international scientists in this ambitious program led by the National Center of Meteorology in the UAE, and our recent experiences have shown how small aircraft can be used to release electrical charges to influence the behavior of water droplets."

As part of this study, and in March 2021, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Sciences carried out a research campaign on the effect of electric charges in modifying the behavior of cloud droplets in the environment of the UAE, to benefit from its results to increase rainfall in arid and semi-arid regions around the world.

The campaign used low-flying drones to launch charges around a meteorological column equipped with an electric field instrument to take charge-related data.

For her part, Director of the Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, Alia Al Mazrouei, said: "Our support for Professor Harrison's project stems from our keenness to benefit from joint experiences and contribute to achieving the goals of this innovative project in building a new knowledge base and helping water-scarce areas in the whole world."

Al Mazrouei added that the National Meteorological Center, through the Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, acts as a global center for rain enhancement science and research by strengthening international research partnerships, exchanging innovative ideas, and supporting the best research and technologies that would provide a qualitative addition in the field of rain enhancement.

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