His Excellency Mansoor Abulhoul, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the UK, paid a visit to the University of Reading’s world-leading weather scientists this week (Tuesday 25 May).
The Ambassador visited the University’s Department of Meteorology to learn about innovative research into rain and cloud electricity – part of a major UAE-funded project to explore new ways to understand and potentially enhance patterns of rainfall.
Mr Abulhoul was welcomed by Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Van de Noort and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Paul Inman, before visiting the Department of Meteorology alongside weather scientists Professor Maarten Ambaum and Professor Andrew Charlton-Perez.
Professor Ambaum and colleagues provided a current overview of the rainfall enhancement project being conducted with UAE partners, in which unmanned drones are being tested to deliver electrical charge directly into clouds to influence the conditions that lead to rain.
After seeing laboratory demonstrations of the experimental technology, the Ambassador visited the University’s Atmospheric Observatory, where measurements of rainfall and other weather observations have been made daily since 1908. Mr Abulhoul helped launch a radiosonde weather balloon, which are used to feed detailed data into the UK Met Office network of weather observations.
Ambassador Mansoor Abulhoul said: “My visit to the University of Reading was an inspiring example of the power of collaboration between the UK and UAE. Academic partnerships like these are driving technological breakthroughs with a range of important applications, including fighting the effects of climate change.
“I’m proud that the UAE is able to support projects at an institution globally recognised for its excellence in climate science. It’s moving to think that the rainfall technology I saw today, which is still being developed, may someday support countries in water-scarce environments like the UAE. I look forward to the success of this project and to future partnerships between the Emirates and the University.”
Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice-Chancellor, said: “It was a great honour and a pleasure to welcome the Ambassador to the University of Reading this afternoon.
“If there is one thing we don’t need in Reading now it’s more rain, as we have experienced one of the wettest Mays on record. But understanding more about how rain forms, and with the potential to bring much-needed relief to arid regions, is an extraordinary scientific achievement.
“Of course, our ability to manipulate weather is puny compared to the forces of nature. We are mindful that we as a University have a big role to play, by working with global partners to understand and help prevent the worst effects of climate change.”