(note: from PDF)
Cloud seeding experiments in Arab countries: History and results
Libyan National Meteorological Centre (LNMC)
Tripoli – Libya
Traditional hydrological resources and supplies of water in the Arab world are threatened by the high increasing demands for different purposes.
Statistical studies have shown that water shortage in the Arab countries is increasing from 27% in 1985 to 62% by 2010.
(graph at left of projected water supplies in Middle East and North Africa, from The World Bank Group)
This crisis was clearly introduced and recognized in late 1970s and since then many Arab countries started conducting operational cloud seeding programs for precipitation enhancement (PE) as a partial applied solution for this problem.
This paper traces the history and the present status of weather modification activities in 8 Arab countries: Libya, Morocco, Jordan, Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and United Arab Emirates.
Operations of cloud seeding for increasing precipitation in the world began in 1950s.
The Arab countries have used weather modification science to solve the problem of lack water in early years too.
Benaichata (2002) has stated that France tried some experiments in Algeria in 1952 to increase rainfall amounts.
Furthermore, Al-Fenadi (1999) has indicated that Libya cooperated with Sierra Research Corporation from the United States to start cloud seeding operations in 1971 over the Libyan coastal areas.
Dates Cloud Seeding Began
(image right of countries featured in research paper highlighted in yellow, created by Blanket Effect staff)
Algeria - 1952
Libya - 1971
Morocco - 1983
Iraq - 1989
Saudi Arabia - 1990
Syria - 1991
United Arab Emirates - 2000
Similarities and differences in the Arabic cloud seeding experiments:
Although the eight Arab countries have a long experience record in cloud seeding operation techniques and equipment, some similarities and differences between them were recognized.
The main objective of all Arab cloud seeding experiments is the enhancement of rainfall, then to improve and increase the understanding of precipitation mechanism and cloud physics research in the area.
Some countries identified target and control areas in the project; while others used the random seeding wherever seedable clouds appear.
The orographic and coastal cold clouds such as cumuliform and stratiform types are the target of seeding operations and the winter season (October to April) is the time of operations.
The most used seeding agent is silver Iodide.
The used seeding techniques and methods are the same, but some equipment is different in type and number such as aircrafts, ground generators, radars and chemical nuclei or seeding agents.
Syria and Iraq used 8 aircrafts in the same season which is still the highest number of cloud seeding aircrafts; also Iraq is the only country [that] used helicopters for seeding operations.
Syria is using 4 weather radars which is the highest radar number as well.
Morocco and Iraq are using AgI (silver Iodide) with other additional seeding agents such as sedominius syringe bacteria.
Only Jordan and Morocco are using ground generators beside aircrafts in cloud seeding.
Evaluation and results:
Many factors make the evaluation of these experiments very difficult. These factors include different topography, period of experiments, and the absence of target and control areas in designing some of these experiments.
There is no clear statistical evidence proves that positive results were achieved in these Arabic cloud seeding experiments, but Jordan reports have indicated that the project achieved 13% average increase in rainfall after 10 rain seasons over all the country.
Also Saudi Arabia cloud seeding experiment (SACPEX-90) indicated that positive results were achieved; accordingly the experiment report recommended another experiment in 2004.