The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) announced the winners of its fourth cycle grant during a ceremony held at Expo 2020 Dubai under patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs. Each recipient will receive US$1.5 million grant distributed over three years.
The fourth cycle awardees include Dr. Bradley Baker, Principal Investigator at SPEC Inc, who received the grant for his research proposal ‘Enhancing Rain in the UAE via Hygroscopic Seeding with Nano-Seeding Material, and Dr. Luca Delle Monache, Deputy Director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California San Diego for his research work ‘A Hybrid Machine Learning Framework for Enhanced Precipitation Nowcasting’.
Dr. Baker’s project aims to determine if the effects of the nano-material seeding agent and electric charge generators will stimulate a secondary ice process that may potentially lead to rain enhancement. The work incorporates sophisticated numerical simulations of cumulus clouds with measurements using the SPEC Incorporated Learjet research aircraft in concert with NCM’s King Air cloud seeding aircraft.
Dr. Delle Monache’s project seeks to create an AI research and operations testbed in the UAE, building a novel AI framework to blend satellite observations, ground-based weather radar data, rain gauges, and numerical weather prediction estimates to extract features and generate products to determine optimal cloud seeding timing and location. It will generate more accurate quantitative precipitation estimation for rainfall enhancement program evaluation.
His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of WMO, said: “The program was launched to ensure global water security through breaking new grounds in rain enhancement research. We are confident that the winning proposals, along with the previously awarded projects, will provide a solid scientific basis to develop promising solutions for the water stress challenges.”
For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, UAEREP Director, said: “With the fourth cycle underway, we take pride in the program’s achievements since its inception. The new awardees will contribute to advancing rain enhancement research through closely collaborating with the winners of the previous cycles as well as covering new research aspects such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.”