Saudi Arabia to use cloud seeding in Asir, Baha to enhance water security

By Anju T K, Intern Reporter
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Cloud Seeding
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The Saudi National Center of Meteorology (NCM) has declared that it will begin a cloud seeding experiment as part of the Kingdom’s pursuit of freshwater sources in the desert.

Mr. Yasser Jalal, director-general of the Research, Development, and Innovation Department at NCM commented that cloud seeding is a method of modifying the weather by distributing environmentally friendly organic elements like dry snow or sodium chloride.

Cloud seeding tries to influence the amount and type of precipitation that falls from clouds by spreading substances into the air that act as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, altering the cloud’s microphysical processes.

Mr. Jalal further remarked, “The materials used in the technology depend on the types of clouds, and the targeted areas are where warm or cold clouds are formed.”

The artificial rain initiative, according to the center, will be one of the most promising and will begin in Asir and Al-southern Baha’s districts.

The Council of Ministers approved a cloud seeding program in February 2020, intending to increase rainfall rates by up to 20 percent over existing levels. At the time, the Cabinet noted that the Kingdom is one of the world’s most water-stressed countries, without permanent bodies of water such as rivers and lakes.

The project aims to enhance the Kingdom’s water reserves in light of the Kingdom’s low rainfall, which seldom exceeds 100 milliliters per year, and will help to boost rainfall rates from 5 percent to 20 percent in the coming years.

Cloud seeding, according to a statement from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture at the time, is concerned with the focused treatment of specific types of clouds and trying to exploit their physical properties to stimulate precipitation by sowing some stimulating materials from these clouds and emptying the largest amount of their water content.

Furthermore, cloud seeding entails flying a light airplane into the cloud base and releasing potassium chloride, sodium chloride, and magnesium flares. Water vapor in the clouds is encouraged to form droplets heavy enough to fall as rain as a result of the mixing.

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