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Prof. Volker Wulfmeyer is a University Professor, Managing Director and Chair of Physics and Meteorology at the Institute of Physics and Meteorology of the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, and member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Prior to his current affiliation, Professor Wulfmeyer worked for the United States National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology of Hamburg. He currently participates in a working group of the World Climate Research Programme of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

In February 2018, Prof. Wulfmeyer was announced as the Chair of the UAEREP Awardee team. In this function, he has been coordinating the scientific exchange of all groups in order to combine the results achieved and the approaches pursued by the nine groups to a big picture for the utmost benefits of rain enhancement science in the UAE.

Project Brief:

“Optimizing cloud seeding by advanced remote sensing and land cover modification”

Professor Volker Wulfmeyer’s project aims to specifically study convergence zones and the modification of land surface for the amplification of clouds and precipitation.

For optimal cloud seeding deployment, these convergence zones need to be identified prior to the development of clouds. Professor Wulfmeyer’s work focused on the improved detection and forecasting of convergence zones, a key to precipitation enhancement and cloud seeding guidance.  This has been conducted through new-generation active remote sensing, particularly Doppler lidar and cloud radar as well as advanced high-resolution modelling in combination with sophisticated data assimilation techniques.

Research Progress:

Within Prof. Wulfmeyer’s project, the first mountain observatory for studying aerosol particles, wind fields, and clouds in 3D has been established in the UAE.

A synergy of remote sensing instruments (the first Doppler lidar system for 3D wind measurements and the first Doppler cloud radar for 3D cloud studies) has been operating continuously since the summer of 2017 in the Al Hajar Mountains providing previously unavailable, ultra-high-resolution observations of convection initiation.

A unique, long-term data set has been produced for model verification as well as for case studies to improve the model physics. Additionally, Prof. Wulfmeyer’s team performed the first eddy covariance measurements in the UAE over a desert site.

Prof. Wulfmeyer’s team has not only simulated the effect of large plantations and their feedback with respect to convection initiation, but also a combination of this approach with an additional heat source.

Recent results demonstrate that this combination has the potential to induce the development of clouds and precipitation. This way, precipitation events can be generated even without cloud seeding and can also be combined with seeding efforts for further amplification.

In the last year of the German project, Prof. Wulfmeyer’s team has come to the following conclusions:

a) The first reliable method to generate as well as to enhance clouds and rain over the UAE has been identified: the Cloud and Precipitation Reactor (CPR). The beneficial side effects of CPR include its contribution to carbon mitigation, thus helping the UAE to achieve the climate objectives and CO2 deduction requirements of the Paris Agreement, as well as the production of  Jojoba and of solar energy, for both of which there is a strong and increasing demand on the market.

b) As only a small percentage of all clouds have the potential to generate rainfall, and as even these clouds only respond to cloud seeding efforts during a very limited time period, a Cloud Seeding Alert System (CSAS), which can already be realized based on the atmospheric data currently available in the UAE, is proposed to identify these clouds and to predict their formation well ahead of time. This way, all cloud seeding efforts can be planned ahead and can focus exclusively on the right clouds in the right moment.

Current work & next steps:

Prof. Wulfmeyer is currently leading a three-month campaign in Abu Dhabi from December 2018 until February 2019 to strengthen the collaboration between the German research group and NCM, the UAEREP as well as Khalifa University (KU).

This will allow to contribute significantly to the ongoing efforts to implement an innovative testbed for the simulation of clouds, precipitation and cloud seeding effects, especially by providing data and expertise for in-depth process studies as well as for advanced data assimilation studies to improve the forecast skill. This research will lead to a refinement of the proposed Cloud Seeding Alert System (CSAS).

As the Chair of the UAEREP Awardee team, Prof. Wulfmeyer is currently coordinating joint case studies for multi model simulations of clouds and precipitation over the UAE.

Furthermore, a strong collaboration is envisioned concerning the next field campaign to be performed in summer 2019. Several joint publications are currently in preparation, including an overview paper on rain enhancement in arid regions.


For more information on the project please visit :