Research the use of drones to pollinate clouds automatically

Research the use of drones to pollinate clouds automatically
Research the use of drones to pollinate clouds automatically

The National Center of Meteorology, through its Emirates Program for Rain Enhancement Science Research, carried out a research campaign in the US state of Colorado to study the possibility of using drones to collect accurate physical measurements of clouds, which will allow cloud seeding decisions to be taken automatically.

The three-week campaign aimed to demonstrate the capabilities of monitoring and automated pollination of drones by conducting a series of intensive observations at different time intervals. At the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, tested a set of miniature measuring devices and validated their effectiveness in taking accurate physical measurements of clouds for use in pollination.

The team performed automated observations and an algorithm of clouds to provide the drones with data on cloud locations in real time based on measurements, radar observations and model simulations. During the campaign, the possibility of using drones was also verified to identify the appropriate conditions for conducting vaccination operations.

Three drones were used in carrying out the campaign, two drones equipped with miniature devices to take cloud measurements at the site and a drone to carry inoculation materials and scatter them in the clouds. After their successful testing in the United States of America, these aircraft will be delivered to the National Center of Meteorology for further experiments in the airspace of the UAE and to assess the feasibility of using them in actual pollination operations.

The campaign represents the first attempt of its kind to verify the use of drone technology in automated cloud pollination by utilizing algorithms and real-time measurements to make pollination decisions automatically, which will enhance the efficiency of pollination operations in general.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Mandoos, Director-General of the National Center of Meteorology and President of the Asian Meteorological Federation, said: “Professor Eric Frio’s campaign is an important step towards changing the way we conduct rain seeding operations in the future through the use of autonomous systems such as drones, which will enable scientists to better understand the mechanism of rain formation. Clouds in the UAE and other arid and semi-arid regions, and the implementation of more efficient and effective seeding operations, which will contribute to achieving the center’s goals of building new local and regional capabilities in the field of meteorology and water resource management.”

For her part, Director of the Emirates Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, Alia Al Mazrouei, said: “The implementation of this research campaign comes within the framework of the program’s continuous efforts to support research projects that won its grant and benefit from their results in order to improve rain seeding operations. The appropriate clouds for pollination will enhance our ability to conduct successful and more efficient pollination operations in the future, and the program seeks, by utilizing the latest technologies, to continue its pioneering role in improving the effectiveness of rain seeding and contributing to achieving global water security.”

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