Abdulrahman discusses new reports, which suggest that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering implementing an innovative new solution to maximise rainfall.
The UAE possesses a hot and dry climate, with deserts stretching across much of its landscape. Consequently, the UAE receives little rainfall in comparison to other nations, forcing the Emirates to rely upon other sources of water. Figures suggest that at present, the UAE is using its groundwater reserves more than 20 times faster than they can be recharged.
The UAE’s government is developing innovative solutions to increase rainfall, such as cloud-seeding operations. This is a weather modification technique where substances are dispersed into the air to enable cloud condensation and increase precipitation. Emirati cloud-seeding operations increased four-fold in the first quarter of 2016. The National reports that cloud-seeding was partially responsible for the UAE’s record March rainfall, indicating that this strategy is proving effective.
According to Gulf Business, the UAE is now considering a new way to maximise rainfall; creating a man-made mountain. At present, the US-based University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is conducting a detailed modelling study for this project. Explaining how man-made mountains help maximise rainfall, UCAR Lead Researcher Roelof Bruintjes pointed out that these structures cause air to rise, creating clouds that can then be seeded to enable increased precipitation.
Commenting further, Bruintjes explained: “What we are looking at is basically evaluating the effects on weather through the type of mountain, how high it should be and how the slopes should be.” Elaborating, he said: “If [the project] is too expensive for [the government], logically the project won’t go through, but this gives them an idea of what kind of alternatives there are for the long-term future.”
In February 2015, UCAR received US$400,000 from the Emirati government for the project. They will work on it in collaboration with the National Centre of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS). A report suggests that the project’s first phase will be completed by summer 2016. If the UAE’s government decides that the project is economically viable, it will move into the second phase. Here the Emirates would consult with an engineering company to build the man-made mountain.
Bolstering water security
The United Nations’ inter-agency for freshwater issues, UN Waters, writes that water security is vital. The agency defines water security as “the capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, and socio-economic development.” In other words, it is essential that countries provide their populaces with adequate access to water, to ensure a high quality of life and enable economic development.
With average annual rainfall rarely exceeding 120 millimetres, the UAE has always had an issue with water security. Commenting on this matter, NCMS Director Alya Saeed Al Mazrouei writes: “This country has always been concerned by the issue of water security, leading the Government to devise strategies to put sustainability at the core of its economic development.” With the UAE’s groundwater reserves disappearing rapidly, it is more important than ever that the country bolster water security.
Evidence suggests that Emirati cloud-seeding operations have proved effective. They have increased rainfall, ensuring that the Middle Eastern country can maximise precipitation to enable greater water security. If the UAE’s government decides to go ahead with this man-made mountain project, it could potentially increase the effectiveness of its cloud-seeding operations and maximise rainfall effectively.
About Abdulrahman Al Ansari
Abdulrahman Al Ansari has more than 18 years of experience in the global financial services industry. He serves as the chairman of a number of reputable financial firms including AMA Investment Holding and Bid Capital Management Consultancy.
Abdulrahman’s professional portfolio encompasses a diverse range of sectors from commodities and natural resources to education, healthcare, oil & gas and investment banking. He has earned a reputation as an innovator, who consistently develops new ideas and solutions to address the complex and demanding challenges which confront his clients every day. Over the years, Abdulrahman has cultivated a special interest in the continued economic and community development of the UAE.