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Cloud Seeding and Flooding in the UAE



  Apr 25, 2024

Cloud Seeding and Flooding in the UAE



1. What is cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding is a weather modification technique used to increase precipitation. It involves dispersing substances like silver iodide into clouds, which helps water droplets form around these particles, potentially increasing rainfall or snowfall.

2. Did cloud seeding cause the recent extreme rain in the UAE?
Despite initial speculations, cloud seeding did not play a significant role in the recent heavy rainfall in the UAE. The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) confirmed that no cloud seeding operations occurred during the storm, and the technique generally has only a marginal local effect on precipitation.

3. How unusual was the recent rain in the UAE?
The rainfall was exceptionally intense, marking the most extreme rain event in the region since records began in 1949. In some areas, the amount of rain that fell in 24 hours exceeded the typical annual rainfall, overwhelming local drainage systems and causing widespread flooding.

4. What meteorological factors contributed to the heavy rain?
The rain was primarily driven by a large storm known as a mesoscale convective system, where multiple thunderstorms combined to form a single extensive cloud shield. This system was intensified by a slow-moving jet stream, which created a blocking pattern that contributed to the storm's severity.

5. How might climate change impact such weather events?
Climate change is likely exacerbating the intensity of such rainfall events. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, which can lead to more extreme precipitation. Additionally, changes in atmospheric circulation patterns due to rising temperatures might also contribute to increasing the frequency and intensity of such storms. A recent study projected a significant increase in annual precipitation for the UAE by mid-century, characterized by more intense rainfall events.

These FAQs provide a comprehensive overview of cloud seeding, its effects, and the broader climatic factors contributing to recent weather anomalies in the UAE.

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