RIYADH — Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Meteorology (NCM) Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli signed an agreement on Thursday to buy five aircraft for the Regional Cloud Seeding Program; four are dedicated to cloud seeding and the specially-equipped fifth plane is allocated for weather and climate research and studies. These aircraft are the newest of their kind and equipped with all the necessary technologies.
Al-Fadhli stressed that the project for purchasing cloud-seeding aircraft aims to build domestic capacity, transfer localized knowledge, ensure business sustainability, raise the level of coverage and efficiency of cloud seeding, as well as reduce the accompanying costs of operating aircraft by providing private aircraft equipped with cloud seeding capabilities and techniques.
The ministry’s Undersecretary for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Osama Faqiha, confirmed that the Kingdom is the second country in the world to own this type of research aircraft, noting that the industrial cloud seeding program aims to enhance water resources, develop vegetation, and benefit from renewable water sources.
For his part, the CEO of NCM, Dr. Ayman Ghulam, noted that the program has completed its third phase and is preparing to launch the fourth, pointing out that the program’s operational results have exceeded a success rate of 97%.
Ghulam said preliminary studies of rainfall resulting from the three phases indicated precipitation of 3.5 billion cubic meters of water in target areas, according to rainfall measurements in these areas. A team of experts is documenting all data obtained to be evaluated through global research centers. The results of the research will be published at a later date.
Ghulam added that during the first three stages, the program completed 626.67 hours of flight through 190 cloud-seeding missions, using 3,405 burners on the target areas.
He noted that the program is one of the achievements of the Middle East Green Initiative and is implemented by the NCM.
The operations for the first phase of the cloud seeding program were launched on April 27, 2022, to increase precipitation levels, create new sources of water, increase green space and intensify vegetation to face desertification, and mitigate drought through qualified national personnel with the highest skill levels. SPA