United Arab Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science Calls for International Submissions
The world’s population is expected to increase by a further three billion by 2050 – and 90% of that growth will be in developing countries that currently rely on existing water supplies and rainfall for food and water. The projected population growth will most likely bring global water supply to a crisis point.
Throughout history, rain enhancement has always been high among human aspirations, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. More recently, atmospheric scientists have started to explore the possibility of augmenting water supplies through water enhancement science. Scientists around the world agree that that rain enhancement, hail suppression and fog dispersion hold real potential – and are integral to any water resource management strategy.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) water security is one of the most important issues. The UAE is an arid country with less than 100 millimeters of rainfall per year, a high surface water evaporation rate and a low groundwater recharge rate – far less than the total annual water used in the country. The UAE is eager to share its experience in rain enhancement and to foster a spirit of international knowledge transfer and cooperative development in the science of precipitation.
“We are offering an opportunity for researchers around the world to advance their skills and expertise in the field of rain enhancement in collaboration with globally like-minded scientists while working on developing potential solutions for water security, to bring health and prosperity to the world. We urge international researchers to participate in this innovative program by submitting their ideas by 16 March 2015. Together, we can bring water and, therefore, life and prosperity to the driest regions of the world.”
- Dr Abdullah Al Mandoos, Executive Director, National Center of Meteorology and Seismology
For that reason, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MoPA) launched The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science on 20 January 2015 at the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week. The Program, which aims to enhance water security through international cooperation in scientific research and development in the field of rain enhancement, will be managed by the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology. It will address the fundamental understanding of rainfall enhancement, data modeling, analysis and evaluation, and experimental design, technologies and instrumentation.
Dating back as early as 1990, the UAE has an illustrious history in cloud seeding for rain enhancement through successful international collaborations with well-known organizations such as the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in United States of America, Witwatersrand University in South Africa and NASA. To ensure the success of its efforts, the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology has invested heavily in a cloud seeding infrastructure, including more than 66 networked, automatic weather stations distributed strategically across the country as well as a sophisticated weather radar network and six state-of-the-art aircrafts for cloud seeding operations.
How to participate
The submission deadline for pre-proposals is 16 March 2015. Innovative research and technology proposals are welcomed from domestic or foreign, public or private, non-profit or profit organizations and individuals. As part of the application process, all candidates must clearly demonstrate their access to the necessary facilities and infrastructure to carry out the proposed project, and their ability to responsibly manage the Program’s grants. Once evaluated, the entries will be shortlisted to an invited group by 1 May, with full proposals due by midnight of 17 August 2015.
Successful proposals will be at the frontier of rain enhancement science. They must demonstrate scope and scale, expertise, experience and commitment, and social and environmental stewardship. Multi-institutional and multi-national collaborations are encouraged as well as knowledge transfer amongst various types of institutions and organizations.
The two-stage selection process will evaluate the technical aspects of the proposed projects and their potential to contribute to advancing the effectiveness and efficiency of rainfall enhancement, based on the following elements:
- Overall Scientific & Technical Merit, Significance and Innovation
- Research Approach
- Qualifications of the Research Team
- Required Resources and Budget
- Contribution to Capacity Development in the Field
In addition, all applicants will be asked to address social and environmental aspects of the proposed work (public outreach and engagement, regional and global effects of weather modification on hydrology, environmental impact), and outline their environmental assessment plan for any proposed experimental testing in the field.
Up to five projects will be selected to go forward, and each will receive a share of the US$5 million grant in project funding, which will be dispersed over a three-year period. The funding will be used to bring the projects to a commercial reality, with implementation starting within a month of the announcement of the winners in January 2016.
The projects help the UAE address its water security issues and the research and experimental data will be openly shared to accelerate the advancement of the field rainfall enhancemnt.
More info at www.uaerep.ae