JEDDAH — The National Center of Meteorology (NCM) has begun the second phase of the cloud seeding operation program in the southwestern regions of Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Ayman Ghulam, CEO of NCM and general supervisor of the Cloud Enhancement Program, announced the start of the second phase of the cloud seeding program over the skies of the southwestern highlands that include Taif, Al-Baha, Asir and Jazan, in addition to their coastal areas. “This would be complementary to operation of the first phase of the program in the airspaces of Riyadh, Qassim and Hail regions,” he said.

Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and Chairman of the Board of Directors of NCM Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli inaugurated the first phase of the cloud seeding operations program in April this year.

Dr. Ghulam followed up on the progress of cloud seeding operations in the targeted areas in the southwestern highlands through the operation raindrop room that was established at the NCM headquarters in Jeddah.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that the cloud seeding for the second phase is proceeding well in accordance with its plan, and that ground and air operations are achieving success according to the initial estimates from specialists and experts as per the timeline with ensuring accuracy of weather aspirations in targeting clouds. “The program’s technical team carries out analysis of seasonal climate data to identify areas with suitable weather conditions to start rain seeding operations from them over the coming phases, with the aim of increasing precipitation over all regions of Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Dr. Ghulam said that coordination is continuing with all the relevant government sectors to make the most of the outputs of the cloud seeding program, which is one of the most promising, safe and cost-effective ways. “The NCM is looking forward to increasing rainfall in the targeted areas to contribute to achieving the goals of national initiatives related to rain and increasing the water level, and thus producing a positive impact on the agricultural and tourism sectors in the Kingdom,” he said.

It is noteworthy that the cloud seeding program is one of the outcomes of the Green Middle East Summit announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last year, in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. It is also an initiative of NCM to integrate with national initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable development, preserving the environment and searching for ways to develop resources.

Cloud seeding is a method used to induce more rain from a cloud by shooting a salt flare into the cloud. Salt naturally attracts water, the water particles then collide with others, get bigger and hopefully fall as rain. Cloud seeding technology increases the quantity and quality of precipitation for certain types of clouds, in order to exploit their characteristics and stimulate and speed up the process of precipitation in predetermined areas.

The Kingdom, through the program, will enhance and contribute to an adjustment of its weather by increasing the rainfall from the current rate, which does not exceed 100 mm annually. The artificial seeding program is being done due to the fact that Saudi Arabia is considered as one of the driest countries in the world, as well as to the fact that it does not contain permanent water bodies such as rivers and lakes.

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