ABU DHABI, 6th October / WAM / A recent research study conducted by the University of Reading in the UK and supported by 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 and thus increase the chances of precipitation.
This study was part of the research project awarded by the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science in its second cycle, led by Giles Harrison, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Reading; Where her practical experiments showed for the first time that the release of charges in the fog led to significant changes in the size and number of fog droplets, when the results of this study were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Letters.
For his part, His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Al-Mandoos, Director of the National Center of Meteorology and President of the Asian Meteorological Union: “We are pleased with what Professor Harrison and his team have achieved and we look forward to continuing to apply the results of his research.”
His Excellency added that the National Center of Meteorology, through the Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Sciences, continues to provide all kinds of support to the research community in the field of rain enhancement sciences, adopting an experimental research approach aimed at developing innovative technologies and building new capabilities that contribute to achieve tangible results that are applicable on a larger scale.
This study comes at a time when about 2.3 billion people live in countries suffering from water stress according to the United Nations, making research into the characteristics of clouds and their impact on rainfall useful to avoid conflicts over water and reduce the use of technologies that consumes large amounts of energy in the process of desalination of seawater, as well as ensuring a sufficient supply of water for the entire world’s population.
These experiments are a continuation of the results of previous research that was carried out using a supercomputer to simulate how electrical 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 to stimulate rainfall. “
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 into how droplets are affected by electrical charges, which includes field measurements, computer simulations and the development of new technology. “
He added: “It is very fruitful to work with elite international researchers in this ambitious program led by the National Center of Meteorology in the UAE, and our recent experience has 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 conducted a research campaign on the effect of electrical charges to change the behavior of cloud droplets in the environment in the UAE to take advantage of 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, Alia Al Mazrouei, Director of the Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “Our support for Professor Harrison’s project stems from our willingness to benefit from shared experiences and contribute to the achievement of the goals of this innovative project to build a new knowledge base and help water-scarce areas in all regions of the world. around the 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 within rain reinforcement.
Professor Harrison and his team, which included elite mechanical and electrical engineers from the University of Bath, carried out two practical experiments to release electrical charges in the mist.
The first experiment took place at the university’s farm in Suning, Berkshire in 2020, where the team released the charge into the fog with a fixed set of launchers and observed the increase in water droplets as the charge was released, according to the Journal of Physical Research review.
In 2021, the team traveled to a farm in Somerset to operate a specially developed battery-powered drone, described in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.
The drone circled above low-lying fog and released separate and combined positive and negative charges, and more water droplets were observed when the positive or negative charges were released separately. In contrast, no effect on the mist was observed when both the positive and negative charge were released together, and this was the first time that a drone had been used to electrify the mist with the aim of changing the behavior of the water droplets that constitutes it. .
Other findings from the research program suggest that precipitation can be stimulated by letting specific sizes of water droplets naturally present in clouds.
This would help arid regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, which suffer from water scarcity. The field campaign implemented by the project team aimed to study desert rain and the effects of sea breezes in the Gulf and to send weather balloons equipped with fog measurement tools to Abu Dhabi. The results of this campaign have been published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Environmental Research Letters.
The Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, overseen by the National Center of Meteorology in the UAE, was established with the aim of contributing to solving pressing challenges in water security.
According to UNICEF, water scarcity could lead to the displacement of nearly 700 million people by 2030.
The World Wide Fund for Nature said about 2.4 million people worldwide lack access to sanitation, exposing them to water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid.
Furthermore, the drones used in the charge release experiments are not a source of air pollution because they are battery-powered, not to mention that the emitted charge spreads naturally, making the weather modification method developed by Professor Harrison and his team more environmentally friendly, and that it automatically can be used in several places.