• Event draws participation of 500 scientists, researchers and specialists in weather modification and rain enhancement science

Abu Dhabi-UAE: – The International Rain Enhancement Forum (IREF), which ran under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Court, wrapped up a highly successful sixth edition today at Conrad Abu Dhabi at Etihad Towers.

Organized by the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), through the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) from 24 to 26, January, 2023, the first-of-its-kind event to tackle pressing water and sustainability issues worldwide discussed the key scientific and technological breakthroughs in rain enhancement research and their applications.

Over its three-day run, the Forum drew the participation of more than 500 scientists, researchers and specialists in weather modification and rain enhancement science, validating its status as a platform for eminent international and national experts, researchers and decision makers in the fields of water security and water sustainability.

His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said: “IREF’s latest edition coincided with the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and the country’s preparations for the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28). In addition to offering an excellent opportunity to strengthen regional and international collaboration in rain enhancement research, the Forum allowed us to explore new approaches and technologies in cloud seeding operations where scientific research through UAEREP’s awarded projects is key to their success. Such efforts enable us to find innovative solutions and adopt sustainable practices to ensure global water security.”

Al Mandous added: "Since its inception, IREF has significantly contributed to shaping the future of rain enhancement science, and stepping up the scientific efforts to enhance precipitation for the benefit of communities around the world. Furthermore, the Forum allowed for the seamless transition of rain enhancement research from theory to practice, in line with our objective of ensuring the sustainability of clean water supplies, mitigating climate change and addressing the global water sustainability challenges.”

On Day 3, the Forum’s agenda included a session titled ‘Capacity Building within the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’ which highlighted the efforts of higher education institutions and initiatives around the world to enable the next generation of students to build upon and further develop meteorological sciences. The session hosted prominent panelists including Engineer Mohamed Al Wahidi, Chairperson of Youths for Sustainable Development Goals Council at the Federal Youth Authority, and an engineer in seismic engineering at NCM.

The session saw the participation of students from the UAE, the United States, Russia and South Africa who shared key findings from their research work in the fields of weather modification and rain enhancement science. Ahmad Al Kamali Cloud Seeding Executor at NCM, shared a presentation on ‘Electrical Measurements of Fog in the UAE’, and Noor Al Shamsi, Numerical Forecasting Specialist at NCM presented on the topic of ‘The UAE Cloud Seeding Program: A Statistical and Physical Evaluation’.

For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “As rain enhancement science and technology continue to achieve significant milestones in enhancing precipitation and bolstering global water sustainability, UAEREP seeks to build the capacities of future generations of students and young researchers in this vital scientific domain. This enables them to turn their creative ideas and cutting-edge research work to real-life applications that contribute to enhancing global water security.”

Al Mazroui added: "The wide participation witnessed by IREF in its sixth edition demonstrates the significance of our awardee projects, and their role in contributing new knowledge to rain enhancement science. We are confident that UAEREP’s Fifth Cycle will welcome new research proposals and innovative project ideas that will improve our understanding of cloud formation and precipitation enhancement.”

The last session of the Forum presented an outlook on current research gaps and targeted solutions in rain enhancement research and brought together a line-up of experts in the fields of atmospheric science, hydrology, meteorology and weather modification, to discuss and determine the pathways to move forward in advancing the science of rain enhancement. The session shared the outcomes from a WMO report and its global rain enhancement programs and initiatives.

During the Forum, UAEREP announced the call for submissions for its 5th Cycle that offers winning research proposals a grant of up to US$1.5 million. In its latest cycle, the program welcomes innovative research proposals with a focus on two high-priority areas: enhancing cloud formation and rain enhancement.

Registration of proposals for the Fifth Cycle is open till March 9, 2023, and pre-proposals should be submitted by March 16, 2023. Those invited to submit full proposals will be notified on May 26, 2023, and will be asked to send their full proposals by August 24, 2023. The winning projects will be selected by a rigorous, two-stage merit review process and the awardees will be announced in January 2024.